Monday, October 18, 2010

Critiquing and friendship

Tina Laurel Lee asked me to write a post about my crit group and the critiquing process.  I've got a great crit group--we meet weekly, but we've only been in the same room a couple of times.  You see, we meet online.

We connected for the first time at the 2009 NESCBWI conference--and even then we didn't all meet each other in person.  Ansha and I knew each other and we met Jen in a session.  Jen knew Laura from her hometown.  We were in the right (write?) place at the right time and all admitted we needed a crit group.  A dynamic and energetic group of friends was born.

We all had partially completed novels at the time and immediately set up a schedule of bi-weekly submissions.  Laura and I subbed one week, Jen and Ansha subbed the next.  We met in a chat room weekly to share anecdotes, family stories, and encouragement.

Now, a year and a half later, we've all completed the works we had started.  Some of us are in revision mode, some are working on new things.  We've all queried and received positive feedback from agents and/or editors.  We're all still on the path toward being agented, but Jen's book TO FIND A WONDER was released last fall.  Her book launch was one of the most exciting moments our group has shared so far!

The critique process itself can be difficult.  It's not always easy to put your words out there.  We all have different writing styles and strengths--but that's the best part of our group.  I know Laura's going ask me questions about my protag's character and whether her behavior is realistic.  Ansha looks at the big picture.  Jen is stellar on detail and world building.  Without each of them, my novel would not be what it is today--getting good feedback and nibbles from agents.

We're now in our sophomore year--we still meet weekly in a chat room.  We've come together to see Jen's book turned into a successful musical.  Laura has become a successful and prolific blogger.  Ansha spearheaded a successful blog series this summer.  And I've had a few more nonfiction projects assigned by my publisher.

It's not always easy to be a writer.  Not everyone understands the trials and tribulations.  But my crit group understands.  They're often the first ones who hear about my recent rejections--because they get it.  Sometimes cheerleaders, sometimes task masters, sometimes psychologists.  My crit group!  Love you guys!

Ansha Kotyk
Jennifer Carson
Laura Pauling


Ansha said...

Love you too! I'm still amazed that we found each other and that we work together so well. I was "looking" for a crit group for about 3 years before that day at SCBWI. Our crit group is well worth the wait!

Kris said...

Absolutely--you guys are one of the main reasons I have a completed novel. I'm still amazed by it sometimes!

Anonymous said...

You guys are the greatest. You lift me up,you knock me down,you cheer and whine with me. I love you guys!!!

Talli Roland said...

That's fantastic! You're so lucky to have a fantastic group around you!

Tina Laurel Lee said...

Hey! And you did it so quickly! I love that you were all in the right place at the right time. In so many ways. It is really a great situation to be in and I am envious. You will be around to support each other for your whole careers!

Julie Musil said...

I didn't realize Laura was in your crit group. That's awesome!

Your group sounds amazing, and I love how you all meet on line. Sounds like a convenient way to work.

MT said...

I'm so glad for you! I started a crit group a few months ago, and this post gives me an idea of what we have to look forward to. Like you say, we've all got our strengths and help each other out in different ways. I love it. :)

Kris said...

Jen - thanks, we love you too!
Talli - Thanks, I think so!
Tina - it was such a good idea, and I didn't have another blog post planned!
Julie - I know! It's a small world isn't it?
MT - good luck with your new group. A good crit group is so valuable!

MT said...

PS I've left you an award on my blog yesterday. :)
Have a great weekend!

Kris said...

Thank you MT!