Friday, June 22, 2012

The Four C's - Classes, Conferences, Crit Groups, and CP's

As I trudge along through yet another WIP, I figure it's time to talk about how I've grown as a writer. The four C's come to mind and I'll talk a little about each of them here.

This was the first step I took. I joined SCBWI and attended a regional conference. I've now attended three and consider this to be such an amazing step in my writer journey. Great information, awesome peers, and the opportunity to hear from industry insiders. Going again this fall - I just can't get enough!

The next step for me was hooking up with Joy Neaves (formerly of Front Street Press, now with Namelos) and taking her classes through the Great Smokies Writing Program. These workshop style classes have been utterly invaluable for seeing my work through a reader's eyes. My fellow classmates are quick to point out where I'm not making myself clear and allow me to see my work through different lenses. Plus having it happen in real time with real people gives me the chance to ask questions when I'm feeling a bit daft.

Critique Group
Through Verla Kay's Blue Boards I hooked up with my on-line crit group. We are a small group of seven writers at all different stages but all writing either MG or YA fiction. We communicate through a Yahoo group and go through ups and downs of activity. This group is my go-to spot for throwing out a new idea, the first few chapters of a shiny idea to gauge interest and possibility. Whenever I need a short crit, in a hurry, these gals are the ones.

CP's - Critique Partners
Probably the most valuable part of the writer journey is finding trusted CP's - writers who are willing to read your entire manuscript and tell you like it is - good, bad, ugly and everything in between. I am so lucky to have Pat Esden in my corner as well as all the awesome #wipmadness folks who have stepped up to the plate to read my wild words. Over time, not only has my writing improved, but so have my critting skills. Finding the right CP partners is a bit of a hit or miss proposition, but by agreeing to read people's work, I've found some folks I trust.

If you have questions about how any of this works, shoot me a comment, or if you have your own magic "C" tell me about it!


  1. I've done all of these but the classes and I really would love to take a creative writing one. Maybe it will happen. I don't know what I would do without the other c's. They really helped me a ton!

  2. So far I've only experienced two C's: Critique Group and Critique Partners.
    Conferences and Classes are a bit on the expensive side for my wallet but with planning I should be able to experience each one of them in the future.

    1. Save your pennies Akoss - SCBWI conferences are amazing and the regional ones are affordable, usually under $200 and I've been lucky to find roomies.

  3. Love the Cs! I would like to get into classes again--the last I took was a workshop by a fairly prominent author, but it wasn't all what I'd been hoping for. Perhaps I can audit one at a local college... And where I'll be moving, I have a feeling my life will be convention-free for at least two years! /sadness

  4. Sounds like you're on the right track! You're very lucky, Jaye. I hope you get to make the most out of all those beautiful Cs, and grow with every bit of work you do. :)

  5. Great list. I have not attended conferences or classes. Like Akoss *waves* they are a bit more than I can spend at the moment. Hopefully, that will change in the future.

  6. LOL. You're making me blush.

    I think one of the hard things I learned over the last couple of years is that critique groups can be outgrown--and when that happens it's time to move on. I don't mean that a writer can't remain friends or get some critiques from a group they've outgrown, it's just time to find new stronger more ambitious writers to rely on.

    Back at you about the support too :)

  7. I enjoyed reading this because I found myself nodding a lot. I, too, am enamored with writer conferences. And I agree that finding trustworthy CP's is vital in the critique process. Thanks!

    BTW, I left you an award on my blog. :)

  8. I'm still waiting to go to my first conference, but goodness, how I want to! I'm so glad for #wipmadness folks. What oh what would I do without this community? Hugs, JRo!

  9. I like the inclusion of both crit groups and partners. I'm learning over time that for a novelist, I think the partners are even more important. We need people with whom we can exchange whole mss. on an as-needed basis.

  10. Well, at least I've got on under my belt, the CPs, and a second, the conference, coming in October. I'm gettin' there.

  11. Great post; have never been to a conference but I do have a great writing group local to me. Looking for online crit partners too - I love that you have a hashtag for yours.

    Congrats on the Xmas in July entry by the way ;)


Hey, do you ever wonder why they call it 'your two cents?'