Welcome writers! Whether you’re seasoned or aspiring, we’re happy to have you.

The Shoreline Writers Group, formerly the New London Writing Circle, meets on the first Thursday of every month. At our meetings, we critique four pieces of work that have been submitted prior to the meeting.  Feedback is honest but always kind!

If you’re interested in joining the group, please do one of three things:

  1. Email Alison at AlisonDowns [at] gmail [dot] com and introduce yourself.
  2. Join the Shoreline Writers Group Facebook page and introduce yourself
  3. Join our email list, by clicking here >> http://eepurl.com/baOxZL


Hey, look! We were in the paper! Waterford Writing Group Celebrates Camaraderie, Collaboration

Still have questions?




Hey, cool! A writing group! When and where do you meet?

We meet the first Thursday of every month, usually at the Waterford Public Library, at 6:30 PM.  Sometimes, if the library is full, we may meet at the Groton Starbucks.

I’m a new writer. Can I still join?

Absolutely! We welcome everyone.  If you’re at all nervous about sharing your work, there’s no pressure. You can join, hang out, get a feel for the group, and share when you feel ready.

How does this work, exactly?

We critique four pieces per month, so if you want your work critiqued, you must be one of the first four people to submit. (After we have four submissions, we close the submission period until next time.) To receive your feedback, you must attend the next critique group. So, if you submit in July, we critique your work at our August meeting.

How do I send my work?

We have a few requirements:

  • .doc or .docx files only
  • Times New Roman, 12 pt font, double spaced
  • Please do not exceed 5,000 words
  • Please number your pages
  • Make sure you place a header in your document with your name and email address in it
  • Submit to alisondowns [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Submission period opens AFTER our critique group, and closes as soon as we receive four submissions.
  • You may not submit work early for the next group, and we cannot hold a spot for you.
  • Please do not submit more than once in a period.
  • Please do not submit once, then retract your submission and send an edited version.


I’m scared I’ll get mean feedback!

No one deliberately gives mean feedback. Our goal is to help you make your work even better, and that may mean that sometimes we say things you don’t want to hear… like, “your dialogue needs work” or “this doesn’t seem relevant to the plot,” or even “I don’t like this character.”  We try to be helpful and not harsh – we’re all writers too, so we’re on your side! On the flipside, being too nice with our feedback isn’t helpful, either.  If we tell you “your work is great, we love it” that doesn’t help you grow as a writer.

No, but I’m really scared about getting feedback. I’ve never shared my work with anyone before.

It can be overwhelming to get feedback for the first time.  If it helps, you can ask us specific questions, like, “If you could only change one thing about this piece, what would it be?” or, “Did I do a good job of making the main character likable?” If that’s all you want to know, make that clear when you are submitting your piece.


It’s not fair to other writers if you ONLY show up to meetings where your own work is being critiqued.  We understand that life gets in the way and that sometimes you might miss a meeting here or there, but please be fair to others and try to offer feedback as often as you receive feedback, ideally, more often.

Additionally, submitting your work to be critiqued and then not showing up on the day of critique isn’t fair, either. You’ve taken one of the highly coveted four submission spots and asked writers to spend time with your work; please respect everyone’s time and be present for your feedback. If you are absent on your critique date, you will not be allowed to submit new material until you return.

(For example, if you submit in July and you are absent in August, you must be present in September in order to submit again.)


I don’t know how to give feedback. How do I reciprocate?

Read the writer’s piece. Sometimes it can be helpful to read it twice.  Was there anything about it that you particularly liked? It could be a funny or moving line, a relatable character, a villain that really made your skin crawl. Write down what you liked.  If there was anything you didn’t like, write that down, too.  Was there anything that confused you, anything that could be made more clear? Anything that sticks with you?

It’s important to open your feedback on a positive note.  For example, “I really loved your main character, she was sweet and relatable… but her father seemed very one-dimensional.”
You might even try the “sandwich” technique: one negative note surrounded by two positive notes.  “I loved your opening line, it really grabbed me.  Your dialogue seemed a little bit boring, though.  But the description of the main character was fascinating and funny.”

Stress what you, as the reader, would like to see.  “As a reader, I crave more dialogue.”  “As a reader, I felt a little bored and caught myself skimming over this second paragraph.” “As a reader, I didn’t understand what you meant here.”

What about grammar stuff?
Feedback on grammar is super important, but in the interest of time, please don’t give grammar critiques during our meetings: focus on the content of the piece instead. Please send all grammar corrections to the writer privately.

Will you read my novel?

Yes and no.  We will not read your novel all at once… we aren’t a book club, and we have to be fair to everyone; however, if you submit your chapters as per our instructions (see “how do I send you my work?”) we can critique reasonably sized pieces of your novel each month.


Do you serve food at the meetings?

Sometimes, but it’s rare! Feel free to bring a drink or a snack if you’re concerned you might get hungry/thirsty.

Can I bring my dog?

Linda would love that, but no.

Do you bring in guest speakers?

We would like to, in the future. If you are interested in speaking, please contact alisondowns [at] gmail [dot] com.

Do you do live poetry/open mic-type reading events?

We would like to! Again, if you’re interested in hosting, reading, or have ideas, please contact alisondowns [at] gmail [dot] com.


This is a LGBT safe space.