I have a great group of writers from the Novel Approach workshop that have become more than just classmates and acquaintances, they’ve become my Fates, Muses, Point and Counter point and most importantly, supporters. All of them are great writers honing their craft along with me.
Monday night was my first of many Critique group sessions with them. We eat and talk and pick each others writing apart in a comfortable environment. Each of us (three at a time) has to submit 20 pages of our manuscripts, the same ones we started and finished in the Novel Approach class. The people not presenting then have to read these 20 page windows into our books and highlight areas that are confusing, repetitive, or jarring parts as well as note the parts that stood out as excellent, gripping, or moving.
Here’s where the hard part comes in, the author then has to sit there and listen without talking. Scary concept? I thought so too. I mean, people intentionally pulling apart something that I have lived in for two years, something that I am intensely proud of; my creation.
Here’s the thing, it was exhilarating! I found out that what I was hoping to accomplish, what I wanted the reader to get, was received and WELL received. I was grinning from ear to ear. The parts they picked out ended up being minor story points that I was able to fix without major re-writes.
Why was I so excited? These 20 pages were the same 20 pages I submitted to an agent and to have writers I respect and admire say so many good things about it bolsters my confidence that hopefully the agent will see the same things.
I’ve been blessed to have such great support from family and friends (even the ones that don’t read – you know who you are – the same ones I was worried about their reaction to my announcing I was writing.) This critiquing was icing on the cake.
I’m excited about writing and am keeping my fingers crossed waiting. Don’t worry, I won’t be idle during this waiting period. I have some minor revisions to do to Echoes, a sensory piece to write for the Celebration of the Arts in Uxbridge (Sept. 25), a piece to write for the Wild Words competition through the WCDR, and Appetites to work on.
Oh and a lot of shameless self-promoting.