This week I was reading Miss Snark's First Victim and she was talking about Random Acts of Kindness and the writing community. I was also reading Lucienne Diver's post at Magical Worlds where she gives a shout out to her writing cheerleaders. I was utterly inspired by both and it got me thinking about how lucky I am to be surrounded by wonderful and supportive critique partners and cheerleaders of my own. So I am going to give them a monster shout out here.
Over the past two years I have been lucky to find not one but three core critique partners who played a major part in the book that got me an agent and an editor/publishing house. It wasn't easy to find them and I "dated' several other partners for awhile before I found my core three, but now I couldn't be more thrilled with the end result. I'm sure you're curious to see who they are and so, without further ado, I shall rhapsodize about each of them and their awesomeness.
Stefanie was the first crit partner I found online. We met during one of Maggie Stiefvater's crit connections on her blog and over the past two years have been trading our work back and forth. She saw my first very rough, not ready for prime time manuscript and read and reread SILO, my soon to be a book manuscript, enough times to make her eyeballs hurt.Every time she emailed me her thoughts it made my manuscripts better by a lot. She is extremely good at challenging the way I pace my stories, at plot, and at spotting the weaknesses in my romantic scenes (of which there are many because these are not my strong suit). Plus she's got the hard work gene times ten, writing novels AND taking college finals AT THE SAME TIME while also holding down a job. She is a fabulous writer herself and funny, encouraging, sweet, and clever besides. She strikes just the right balance between encouragement and challenging critique. And just look at her...you can't look at that picture up there and not want to smile!
I met Krystalyn through a very awesome online writer's conference called Writeoncon. We met on the crit match up there and very quickly got into a routine of swapping work. She is the same age as me (but I'm not sayin' what that particular age is) and in the same stage of life. She's the crit partner who is so determined with her own work that she can't help inspiring everyone around her. She blows through her own rough drafts like a tornado when she's got a good idea and her progress always gets me off of my own seriously procrastinatey butt and to the desk asap. She is killer at challenging weak plot points and getting to the heart of a chapter's problem quickly. I always know that she will be one hundred percent honest and won't pull punches when something needs work-which is invaluable in a crit partner. She is also an extremely talented writer and the kind of friend who gives thoughtful advice and sweet encouragement.
Jenn and I also connected through Writeoncon (seriously, if you haven't checked it out get your butt over there this August when the next conference takes place--you will absolutely not regret it--plus it's FREE). She is the final piece in my core crit puzzle. She is my take no prisoners editor type with mad skills with line edits and content issues. She questions everything with the kind of eye for detail that astounds me every time. She's the kind of writer that isn't afraid to try something new and constantly pushes her own work to greater heights. She has a killer creative mind and knows her way around a kitchen to boot. I am always salivating over the things she bakes in her free time! Once I started trading work with her, I knew that I didn't need to look anymore for new partners. I had my core three!
Each of the lovely ladies above approaches their crits a little differently and their input is just what I need to get my work moving in the right direction. They push me when I need it, encourage me when I need it, and generally inspire me to do better each time I sit down to write. So this post is all about thanking all three of them for being the wonderful writers, people and critique partners that they are.
BUT I"M NOT DONE YET!
There is a small, but powerful list of ladies that also played key roles in getting me to where I am right now. They read bits of both my manuscripts, the bad one and the one that made it and gave me key critiques that CHANGED EVERYTHING. Although we don't share work as often or as regularly with each other as my other crit partners, I am one hundred percent in their debt as well.
Lucienne Diver, who became my agent after first putting in time as my fellow writer friend. I have no words to express what she means to me and am thankful every single day that she took me on as a client. She believed I had potential and gave me the encouragement I needed to go out there and make it happen. It's beyond wonderful to know that she was in my corner long before it was profitable for her to be there.
Tricia Lawrence, who is a wonderful writer and agent in her own right. She always had spot on critiques for me on both of my manuscripts and inspired me with her dedication to realizing her own dreams. She is generous, kind and seriously motivated(by the way, I met her at Maggie's crit connection as well...you never know who will see your work out there! Thanks to Maggie by the way for hosting this!)
Natalie Parker who looked at pieces of my manuscripts and gave me pointed critique that bettered my intentions on both and helped me grow craft wise. And I can't thank her enough for helping me meet other writers in similar stages to my own. She has inadvertently saved my sanity more times than she knows by giving me a very supportive/amusing sounding board of writers to whine to! (to those writers, you know who you are, I need a WHOLE OTHER POST to thank you properly)
So that's it, my entirely long and drawn out praise fest for the awesome writer type people that I am privileged to know and lean on. I could start singing Lean on Me now or The Wind Beneath My Wings, but I think we all know that I would MURDER those songs. I am a writer not a singer after all!
So what about you? Who do you count on? Shout their praises in the comments or do one better and write a similar blog post of your own and put the link in the comments so I can check it out!