Getting on the Fast Track

One of my favorite subjects to talk about is critique groups. I think because they are (in my opinion) one of the most helpful things an author can do for himself/herself.

I recently moved and have been on the hunt for a writing group in my new area. I was beginning to think I was going to have to start one myself, but just when I began to plan this new venture, I found out about one practically in my own backyard!

This group operates differently than any I have ever been a part of, so I thought I’d share with you how they are set-up.

In this case, there is a large group of thirty-five authors—yep, that’s right. This large group is divided into five groups of roughly seven members each.

The smaller groups meet EACH WEEK—interesting, huh? That’s where the real work of critiquing/editing is done.

Then, the large group meets THAT SAME WEEK. Each author’s submission (reflecting changes due to the small group’s comments) is shown on a screen and read aloud by the author. The large group gives general comments on each submission.

I’ve attended one large group meeting and really enjoyed hearing from authors writing in a variety of genres.

I’d recommend this process for any writers who feel they can keep up with this fast-paced regimen. Submitting to two groups every week can be daunting, but it sure can put you on the fast-track to publishing!


Get Cranking!

So, you get your submission back from your critique group. They have a few “suggestions” for improvement.

Your manuscript is returned from your editor with hundreds of “red lines”. A major rewrite is in order.

Your Beta Readers are less than enthusiastic about the plot or characters in your latest book. You need to tear it apart and see where it went wrong.

Negative comments are inevitable, but we cannot let them devastate us as writers. When you get them, first “consider the source”. Then, if the source is credible and the person is someone you respect, spend as little time as possible wallowing in despair.

I say: “get cranking.” Learn what you need to learn; do what you need to do. Use all of that pent up frustration in the direction of making improvements.

Oh, to be sure, we love those positive comments that make us feel successful, but it’s those negatives that can really light the fire under us. They have the power to propel us to greatness if we turn them around and view them as positives.

We can even learn to be thankful for them, because they are the ones that stretch us as  writers and spur us on to learn and grow in our craft!

If we allow ourselves to be devastated by negatives, we will soon find ourselves deep in a black hole of gigantic proportions, stagnated and unable to ever face the computer keyboard again.

When riders are thrown from a horse, the best advice they receive is to get back in the saddle as soon as possible. As writers, that “horse” may look like a harmless chair on rollers. But, here’s the point:

Don’t let negatives define you.

Use them to your advantage and

Get Cranking!