News of September 18, 2023

To all ATLW members:

Hi all,

I have new developments to report in Atlanta Tuesday Literary Writers.

  • Website
  • Takeaways (craft notes)
  • Influx of members
  • Possible Tuesday/Wednesday schedule
  • Seeing more short stories
  • Trying new, reportedly quieter location

First, there is now the beginning of a website:  (As usual, capitalization does not matter but makes the link easier to read and to share in handwriting.)

The site is meant as a first point of contact. People who find the group through Meetup instead of the usual route of Atlanta Writers Club see a message on the Meetup page that begins, “Before requesting to join this group, please read…” with a link to the site. At this point, I’m no longer accepting blind enrollments. Prospective members must correspond with me about their interest and provide a sample or two of their writing, just like everyone who came through the usual route of Atlanta Writers Club.

If you want to refer a friend to the group, simply refer them to that website, not to the Meetup page. Everything they need to know is on the new site, but they can always ask you (or me) further questions.

It’s a very simple site. Its primary pages are

  • What Is This Group?
  • What Is Literary Fiction?
  • How Do I Join?

Secondarily, the site has the beginning of a collection of what I call Takeaways. Each Takeaways post is about a particular author, covering a single book or more often several books. They describe noteworthy aspects of style and technique. They’re not book reviews or synopses. They simply point to aspects of craft that are prominent in the book and discuss lessons one might take from them. 

I kicked off the series with John Fowles because he’s the starting point of where nearly all of us are writing today, being credited as he is with inventing the postmodern literary novel. Writer and legendary teacher of (literary) writing John Gardner described Fowles’s Daniel Martin as the “best” and “most moral” (odd observation, hmm?) novel of the 20th century. So agree with that or not, but it’s hard to overlook Fowles’s influence and innovations.

If any member, having read the existing Takeaways posts, wishes to contribute one or more posts with craft takeaways from a favorite (or least favorite) literary writer, please contact me—I’m positively inclined toward the idea. You’d get the byline, of course, and you could also include a link to your author site.

In addition, I may add a category for freestanding craft topics—that is to say topics not tied to particular authors or books.

Further, we continue to grow with talented new members. We’re growing more slowly now that there’s room to be more selective. There’s been a bit of in-meeting discussion about eventually expanding to a weekly, alternating Tuesday/Wednesday schedule if necessary to accommodate more submissions and attendees. Since once a week is too intensive for most members, the assumption is that some would gravitate to every other Tuesday and others to every other Wednesday of the in-between week.

We’re picking up more writers of short stories. For instance, last Tuesday (9/12) had two short stories from new members, plus the final chaplets of a novella from charter member Linda L. Depending on trends, shorts versus novels could be one possible division of Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I love reading and discussing our serial submissions from novels, but I’m also delighted to see more short stories coming in. Let me know what you think.

We have a number of members on Meetup’s rolls who have never attended a meeting, some of whom have never had any contact with me at all, so I’m planning to do some winnowing of those and perhaps of members who do not attend within a 6- or maybe 9-month period and haven’t notified me they’re only taking a break. If you’re one of these members and earnestly intend to commence attending, please email me soon at

The visibility of our submissions is fortunately limited by the fact that every meeting uses a separate folder (unlike groups that recycle the same folder for ten years or more, leading to silent readers all over the web), but I don’t think we want to collect members whose only purpose is to read other writers’ submissions without ever submitting or participating in discussion or critique.

Although our comfortable table limit at Panera is 10 attendees, I’ve set the hard limit on Meetup to 12. Please RSVP to the meetings you plan to attend, and please un-RSVP as soon as you change your mind for any reason. Chronic no-shows who don’t release their seats will be winnowed from the group, because that behavior has had a negative impact on members who truly want to attend and who respect the few rules of ATLW.  (And of course, if you have a piece up for discussion, it’s incumbent to move heaven and earth to be present, because many people have put time and effort into preparing oral and sometimes also written feedback for your submission. Emergency, illness, and Covid quarantine are examples of acceptable reasons for late cancellation by a submitter, if made known before the meeting.)

Finally, on 9/26 (now full for submission and attendance) we’re trying out a large round table at Fortune Cookie, way down the hill in the same parking lot as Panera. It’s made for 8 but can squeeze in 10, so the hard limit if we continue there would be 10 attendees, as it is for 9/26. There would also be a greater expectation of eating and tipping well than there has been at Panera. We’ll reassess after the next meeting or two. 

Occasionally I reserve a seat for an expected guest attendee, usually a prospective member. When you see Designated Guest on the RSVP list, that’s who that is. 

That’s all for now.