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.
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!