Meeting of the Minds

The Writers In CAPS critique group met last night in the Barnes & Noble Cafe to pore over two pieces of fiction by Neil and Chance. CAPS has met twice a month for five years. Quite a feat! A few have come and gone, and we’ve added a few. We started as a group of all women and are currently mixed, half and half, which makes for a good balance in perspective.


“We are writers based in the Nashville, Tennessee, area. We write fiction and creative nonfiction. We are a highly motivated support group, naming ourselves Writers In CAPS. ‘CAPS’ is an acronym for Critiquing, Authoring, Publishing and Supporting.”

CAPS 2008


We are currently writing: two novels, one memoir, one collection of short stories, and short fiction. Currie, an award-winning songwriter, is working on her second novel. She’s a transplanted Canadian who uses a serviette when she has her latte and cookie. Neil is writing embellished boyhood stories based on some real-life incidences of a bunch of mischievous kids in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas in the 50’s and 60’s. Chance puts out some contest-winning short fiction, some springing from a recent trip to Vietnam and some coming from his experiences in Nashville with music, ethnic restaurants, and other cultures. I am trying to balance a memoir and a novel, both evolving out of the Mississippi Delta.

CAPS at Barnes & Noble


Last night’s work had a lot to do with a high school graduation that almost didn’t happen, a science test with a grade of “G,” a sushi restaurant, a homeless veteran who didn’t ask for a handout, and those annoying orange cones they use to mark lanes for church traffic on Franklin Road. (I was left with the impression there might be a few less of them one day real soon.)

When it is my turn, I find it amazingly helpful to have those six other eyes on my work. It’s helpful to discuss techniques that will take the writing to the next level. There’s nothing more valuable to a writer than a critique group.

I’m lucky. I have two — one here in town and one online (born out of the Mid-South Creative Nonfiction Conference) that focuses on creative nonfiction.