Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Critique Partners

When I began writing in January of 2010, I didn't know a single writer.  I had the support of my family and friends, but none of them knew a thing about writing a book or could help me in my journey to become a published author.  Sure, they could read my chapters and tell me what they liked or didn't like, but none of them knew the basic rules to writing, including me.  Two months later, I moved 1,000 miles away, where I knew no one and had even less support than I started with.  And even less time to write.

My husband not only worked nights, but twelve hour shifts, which left me playing single parent to our two young boys while unpacking our belongings one box at a time.  **By the way, if you're looking for something in a bunch of boxes, go straight to the one you don't think it's in.  That's where you'll find it.**

As if that wasn't fun enough, we were using my husband's days off to house hunt, which is a career in itself.  The day I unpacked the last box at the rental house was the day we found the home we would buy and move into a month later.  Great timing, right?  Oh, and it gets worse.  We had exactly six days to move everything to our new home before leaving on a three-week vacation that started with us driving to Texas, catching a flight to England, taking a private tour in Scotland, flying back to Texas, and then driving back to Indiana where our new home filled with a gazillion packed up boxes awaited us.  Because, obviously, I didn't have time to unpack them before we left. I've never been so tired in my life.

During those first five months of being in the new house, I got very little writing done.  I spent what little time I did have reading how-to books on writing to learn everything I could about how to write a book.  I had already written six chapters of a novel, where I made every single mistake a writer could make.  Info dumps, telling rather than showing, incorrect grammar use, etc...  I relied heavily on how-to books to guide my work through the rough spots.  They were my first critique partners.

Then I saw that one of the local newspapers was having a short story writing contest.  Problem was, it was close to the entry deadline, and I didn't even have a story to submit.  So I worked nonstop for two days straight until I came up with a story and edited the hell out of it.  I reluctantly submitted it, not thinking I'd even come close to winning.  But not only did I win the contest, but the editor printed my picture in the paper along with an article he wrote up about me.  Then he invited me to join their local writing group.  Since then, I've joined two more writing groups, one semi-local and one online group.  I met a lot of writers, which eventually led me to participate in PitchWars, where I was a finalist and made some great connections.  Not only did I walk away with a lot of new writer friends and a fabulous agent (Andrea Somberg!), but I also met four very special chickadees, who are now my critique partners.

If you aren't following any of these lovely ladies, then do so now.  You won't regret it!



Sarah Hennings

Twitter: @shhenning
Sarah's Website

Sarah's not only the excellent writer of a "foodie" thriller, but she's also my writing therapist.  (Okay, so maybe that's not entirely accurate!)  But she does keep me sane during the week with her fun emails.  She beat me out in PitchWars, so I probably shouldn't like her, but I just can't help myself.

 


Carol Pavliska
 
Twitter: @carolpavliska

Carol is loveable and neurotic (what writer isn't?) with really great taste in music.  She wrote a crazy awesome romance that I'm dying to see get published.  Also, she makes me smile.  





Joy Callaway

Twitter: @JoyWCal

Her name says it all.  She's an absolute "joy" to talk to.  She's friendly and supportive and kind and...we could be here awhile.  By the way, her historical romance is fabulous! And, together, we invented cheese-flavored taco glue and are going to be rich!  (This may or may not be a true statement.)




Sam Bohrman
 
Twitter: @sambohrman
 
I have come to the conclusion that she is the funniest person on the planet.  Absolutely hilarious!  And such a fantastic writer to boot.  I appreciate witty humor and this girl definitely has it!  She is guaranteed to make you laugh.  
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

10 comments:

  1. Awww, thank you, Alison! I'm sooooo happy to be included in your fabulous stable of CPs! You totally deal with my crazy, too, and I'm sooooo happy to have met you!

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    1. Ah, Sarah, you're so sweet! Which is exactly why it makes me laugh when you send me an email with ranty curse words. :)

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  2. I feel so lucky to be included in this group of awesome women! You guys are my people. I'm so glad we all did Pitchwars. Wish I could buy you a latte this morning, Alison. (Also, I'm jealous that you've been to Scotland.)

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    1. Did you read Joy's comment? See? You are getting a trip to Scotland! We just have to stop off in Hawaii first for a writing retreat. Yeah right. Like any of us are going to get any writing done with big hunky Samoans running around in tiny loin clothes. Oh, and did I mention they'd be fanning us and feeding us grapes? :)

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  3. Hey, I like all those ladies!

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    1. They're totally great, right? I'm blessed to have found each of these wonderful women. :)

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  4. *HUGS ALL OF YOU* So thankful for you gals and your awesome support. When Alison and I strike it rich with the cheese flavored nacho glue, we're all going on a month long writing retreat to Hawaii...and then maybe Europe.

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    1. Not nacho glue...taco glue! Just great. Now we have to invent a whole line of jalapeno-flavored nacho glue, too. We'll never get any writing done with all the extra work our second business is going to require of our time. ;)

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  5. Do you really think I'm neurotic? Should I do something about it? What do you think I should do? **PS - I edited this comment 9 million times.

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  6. You're neurotic in that loveable, extremely fun, Carol-esque kind of way. LOL I'm totally smiling after reading this. :)

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