The T Party meets once a month, usually to critique two or three stories that have been submitted by members, as well as to trade writing news and publishing gossip.
While the critiquing sessions are serious (not to say gruelling) affairs, the meetings are enormous fun, too – a chance to hang out with likeminded writers and share congratulations, commiserations and chat. Many members look forward to the meetings for social reasons as much as for professional ones.
Meetings run from 2pm to about 6pm on Saturday afternoons, normally in a pub near Holborn or Temple tube stations. This is what happens at a typical meeting:
- The Chair introduces anyone new to the group, makes announcements of any general T Party business and then invites attendees to talk about their news – acceptances, rejections or other developments.
- Members take it in turns to offer their comments, suggestions and thoughts about each story. (Everyone should already have read the stories – they’re not read out at the meeting.) Concise, constructive criticism is the order of the day. Comments should be tough but fair; participants are encouraged to express differences of opinion.
- After everyone has given their critique, the author responds and can initiate a period of interactive discussion, allowing him or her to raise any particular points s/he wants to make, and workshop participants may ask direct questions of the author. This sometimes proves to be the most useful part of the critique.
- Someone buys the author a drink.
- Repeat until all the stories have been critiqued.