This leads to another "difficulty." I use this term loosely because this is not really a problem--more of a hiccup.
Previous to the 'Rona, when new members joined, we would take a few minutes to review the writing group guidelines, once a year or so. The guidelines are not extensive, but they are loosely based on the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Our previous noble leader, David Hassler, defined our guidelines and put them into practice.
Please indulge me. This was one of David's favorite quotes.
In the last year (as mentioned), we often have had new members every meeting. New members receive a copy of the guidelines, but I do not recall discussing them as a group in some time. The online format and larger group size cramps time, so we do not have time to go over the guidelines.
Perhaps I am a little too type-A. I like my rules.
We have had several submissions with 10-point font or single-spaced. They are within the page limitations, but because the guidelines are 12-point, double-spaced, the submissions are much longer.
Now into the grit. Some of our guidelines are about the discussions. Again, we are based on the Iowa Workshop, so the writer whose work is being discussed is to remain silent, and each critiquer is allowed a turn to speak. Over time, we have allowed the writer to ask questions and respond. Mostly, this has been fine. In the last months, a few writers have taken this time to defend their writing and explain what they are trying to write.
Mostly, I can't listen to this for too long. Recently, I stopped a writer who was explaining what her main character was thinking and doing. The writer has done this before. I tried to gently say that this was not coming through on the page and she should not explain this but write it. She continued to explain, and again, I said I would rather read her next draft than for her to tell me what she intends for the character to do. She started explaining again.
Randy says that critiquing is a little like volunteer work. We spend lots of time reading and reviewing others work for no money.
I think this is funny, sort of.
Mostly, this is true.