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Lexy Petrick, pictured, and Lee Martin welcome aspiring writers to the Suwanee Writers’ Group the first and third Wednesday each month at Suwanee’s George Pierce Park Activity Center.

On the first and third Wednesday of each month, aspiring writers gather at the George Park Activity Center in Suwanee. For the past five months, these individuals have launched ideas, shared new manuscripts, and offered moral and practical support to their fellow writers.

“Writing by its nature is a solitary activity. Our group allows writers an opportunity to socialize and network with like-minded individuals,” says Lexy Petrick, one of the founders of the Suwanee Writer’s Group.

Meetings can consist of five to six people or more, and any aspiring or experienced writer is welcomed to attend. There is no admission fee.

Another founder is Suwanee resident Lee Martin, a prolific writer who has published numerous books. Martin said, “Our writers’ group actually spawned from a creative writing class I taught earlier in the year and several of the members, namely Cherie Heringer, Michelle Roebuck, Vadim Timchenko and Lexy Petrick wanted to continue our association by forming this group.”

Petrick had spent six months writing her novel.

“I had never aspired to be a writer,” she said. “But this story was continuing to beat the drum louder and louder in my head, so I relented and began writing. After six months, when I was close to completing the book, I saw an advertisement for a five-week writing class with Lee Martin. When the classes finished, there was a group of five that wanted to continue meeting.”

Petrick, a successful Toastmasters participant, has organized the meetings to run much like the Toastmaster’s format, which is supportive of members, emphasizing encouragement, praise, suggestions and a friendly atmosphere.

“I’m protective of these writers,” Petricks said.

Each meeting, writers bring in their work and read it to the group for input. About half the group are published authors who cover many different genres such as murder mysteries, children’s books, humor and fantasy. The other half are aspiring writers in various stages of their first novels.

Said Martin: “I have personally read and listened to excerpts of these budding writers, and in my opinion their style, dialogue and descriptions are as good or even better than many of the successful authors out there who make a living off their works.”

There are many topics of discussion which apply to the seasoned as well as the novice writer.

“Topics of discussion generally include what’s happening in the world of fiction and non-fiction, do’s and don’t’s, fears that readers won’t like our books, editing woes, securing an agent and the many challenges in the publishing process,” Martin said.

“Our group is unique in that we don’t require membership and do not charge to attend,” says Petrick. “I read recently that 97% of writers never finish their novels. The Suwanee Writers’ Group aspires to change that.”

You can join the group at its next meeting, Sept. 4 at Suwanee’s George Pierce Park Activity Center from 6 to 8 p.m.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. Email her at hcalmes@ mindspring.com.