Wednesday, May 18, 2016

5/18/16- The Critic

I kept wanting to talk about the subject of critic (in writing) since I went to my first Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (I'm a member; it was advice shared to me by another children's writer to join SCBWI.  If you recall, I was nervous to attend my first meeting of SCBWI.  I was nervous they would see me as impostor and not welcome me.  Guess what?  Nothing was further from the truth.  The group at that meeting was welcoming, kind, and genuinely excited about the other authors' work.  It was a great first meeting.

That meet also gave me the opportunity to a couple of ladies that I had been emailing.  I had been emailing these ladies about a critic group (they had off/on had critic group in Chandler).  We had a great conversation, and we agreed we'd meet as a small (re: just the 3 of us) critic group.  A couple emails later, we had finalized date, time and location.  And I went to my first critic meeting April 6.

We started the meeting with some small talk and some talk about writing conferences and other industry meetings and news. Then we each shared a story/manuscript that we were working on.  The author got positive feedback and constructive criticism.  For my story, I got some wonderful ideas and suggested on words to use for sounds (my character is an animal and makes different sounds).  It was such a good first meeting that I couldn't wait to go back for the second meeting.

Unfortunately, the second meeting that was scheduled, I was sick and missed it.  It sounded like it went well for the two of them.  And I got the opportunity to make my second meeting/the group's third meeting.  This meeting we talked technical details of storyboard layout (for picture books, which by the way is our group's emphasis), which was fascinating to me as an engineer.  We also talked about how isolating writing can be and how these meetings make you feel less alone (especially when it comes to the rejection of agents and editors; almost every author trying to get published gets rejected).  I also got some wonderful feedback for a second story I'm working on.

In summary, if you are an aspiring author, please join your genre of writing's professional society (if one exists for your genre) and please join critic groups!  Both are such a wealth of information, and critic groups give you that outside edit and perspective before you submit to agents/editors.  It may be scary reaching out to a new group at first, I know I was nervous, but it's been such a pleasant and positive experience, that I highly recommend it!  Happy writing to budding authors and happy day to everyone else (hope you all found this info useful)!   

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