Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Blog Chain - People I Couldn't Write Without

This topic was chosen by the lovely Sarah who wanted to know:

Do you work with critique partners? How did you find your crit pals, and what influence have they had on your work?

Oh yes. I have crit partners. Probably too many LOL but I've met so many awesome writers over the years and we pretty much all exchange manuscripts at least once in a while.

My very first group I found by googling. I met some great people on there, learned a TON. I was a very VERY newbie writer. Had finished one book, paid an editor to go through it, gotten a few good suggestions from him, but it wasn't until this group (and one awesome lady in particular, Jeannie Ruesch) got a hold of it that I actually started pulling that poor manuscript together.

I can't believe how much she taught me. Stuff I'd never heard before. The adverb rule, POV tricks/rules/no-nos, ways to show different sides to my character - for all those who have read Treasured Lies, the pea scene was suggested by Jeannie. If she hadn't taken me under her wing, I don't know where I would be right now. I think I've mentioned before that I once wrote a scene where I had FOUR povs going on in ONE paragraph. Yeah...Jeannie was the one who explained why that was bad LOL

My other critters I met through QueryTracker. Toni Wilson (we are often called the eTwins by our QT friends) - I send everything to her. I mean literally everything. She often crits my emails before I send them LOL

Kristal Shaff and Cole Gibsen - again, these amazing women read pretty much everything I write. And I've learned so much from each of them. They are all awesome with things like plot flow, word choice, motivations, plot holes (and Kristal and Toni in particular are great at pointing out when I'm going overboard on the romance LOL). These women ready all my stuff and they are so incredibly sweet about reading my pages over and over again. I think they know my stories more than I do sometimes LOL

I met Elana Johnson through QT and joined a crit group with her and the absolutely wonderful Christine Fonseca. Elana is amazing - she will tell you how it is and she doesn't let you get away with anything. I usually get my pages back thinking "yeah, I knew she'd mark that." :D I'm slowly learning to just remove it before she has to mark it up LOL

Christine is amazing with emotions - I can go way overboard with them sometimes...and sometimes I don't have enough. She keeps me on track with my plot and characters and their motivations and personalities. She is also a fellow Non-fiction writer and is my main critter for all things NF (though Toni reads some of that stuff for me as well) :) It's so wonderful to have someone I can send those pages too. I don't know what I'd do without her.

And I also have my amazing Operation Awesome gals. I joined their group not too long ago (actually...I think it's been a year or so now!) It's been wonderful having a fresh group of eyes and learning from each of them - both from their crits of my work and from my crits of their work. They are an incredible group of women and I am so lucky to be a part of their group.

When I lived in Utah I was very privileged to be part of a live group with Bethany Wiggins and Bonny Anderson. I still send them pages and am always thrilled to read theirs, though I miss seeing them face-to-face :)

I have several other friends and readers that I send my pages too. They are all priceless to me. I would never be able to make it down this road without them.

Who are your critters and how did you meet them?

Be sure to see who PK shreds paper with and stop by Tere's tomorrow to find out about her crit pals :)


Christine Fonseca said...

Awe, thanks Michelle! I can't imagine sending stuff out without having you take a look first, either!

Matthew MacNish said...

Man, you have a lot of CPs! Now I'm thinking I need to get some more.

Tere Kirkland said...

You can never have too many CPs! I've never been a part of a live crit group before, though.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Sounds like you have a great crit group there!

Cole Gibsen said...

Aw! Right back atcha, lady! I wouldn't be anywhere without you!

Tiffany Garner said...

Hey Michelle! I answered your question on my blog:

Click here!

And thanks for sharing! I always love finding other authors to connect with online.

Pk Hrezo said...

LOL... I know what you mean! I sometimes am afraid to look cuz I just know my CP is gonna call me out on something. But I love them for it.
How cool you've met so many great writers. We are all so lucky!

Lindsay said...

Aw. I echo what Cole said :)

Mark Noce said...

Crit partners def help, and it's important to find the right ones as you want to speak to your target audience:)

Margie Gelbwasser said...

That's great that you have so many different partners! You must get a lot of varied feedback, but I'm sure each has something new to add. Cool!

Eric said...

Like so many on this chain, you have some talented crit partners. And judging from how much you've been able to accomplish, it obviously helps a great deal. Thanks for sharing this kind of stuff with us, particularly for people like me who haven't yet taken the plunge.

Katrina L. Lantz said...

Now I can see why your writing always looks so polished and on-the-mark plot-wise. You've had some very good helpers, too! I'm honored to be one of your CPs and have learned a TON in the very short time we've known each other. Can't thank you enough for the things you've taught me about emotion in my writing.

Jeannie Ruesch said...

Aww, thanks for such an amazing mention! I am honored to be one of your CPs along the way -- and to this day, I still remember your story (as you know! LOL)

Jeannie Ruesch said...

Aww, thanks so much for such a great mention! I'm honored to have been one of your CPs along the way...and look forward to reading more! :)

You, along with the other CPs I've had over the years have been invaluable. Finding the right connections, the right group is amazing. When it clicks, you know it.