Quick-Tip Tuesday: Finding A Writing Community

I’m finally home after ConCarolinas and the Roaring Writers Retreat, where I taught and led critique sessions for a fun, productive, wonderful week. (Thanks for inviting me, folks — it was fantastic!) My third night home — last night — I attended a meeting of the writer’s group of which I’m a part here in my town. And, of course, I’m posting this to MW, which has been the foundation of my writing family for eight and a half years.

So, I thought today I should post about community and its importance to writers of all levels.

Writing can be a lonely profession. We often work on our own, toiling alone for hours at a time, sending our work into what can feel like a marketplace vacuum, and waiting for feedback that can be hurtful, even brutal. It’s hard, and our solitude makes it harder. Yes, we have loved ones […]

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Five Stages of Grief (Critique Edition)

Most authors do it: share our draft work with people, hoping to learn what we can do better. Sometimes, we participate in critique groups. Sometimes, we have “first readers.” Or “beta readers.” Or “critique partners.” Whatever we call it the process is the same: Writer plunges in a knife, exposing her heart and all other vital bodily organs. Critic(s) deliver(s) body blow after body blow after body blow, tearing apart the work in question.

Oh. Maybe that’s just the way I see things.

When I first started writing seriously, I joined up with an online writers workshop, exchanging my work with fellow participants and collecting criticism through email. That was the perfect medium for me — I could go through all five stages of grief in the privacy of my own home.

What? You don’t apply the five stages of grief to critiques? The five stages were originally defined by […]

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There must be help out there, somewhere.

“Will you read my novel and give me some pointers?”

It’s the question all published writers face eventually. And most of us dread it. We’re usually nice people, and we don’t especially want to hurt anyone’s feelings. We remember all too keenly how it was before we achieved our published status, which makes us want to help, if possible. That’s one reason Catie, David, Faith and I started this blog in the first place.

But for the most part, we will beg off reading someone’s as-yet-unpublished manuscript. For one thing, there’s the liability issue. Say I read your manuscript, in which there is a secondary character named Jolene. Three years later, I publish a book, and I’ve named the romantic interest Jolean. If you’re of a litigious nature, you could decide it’s all close enough to sue me for stealing what you wrote, and while I probably wouldn’t lose the […]

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