What I (Now) Know About Critique

dear writer 001I think it was November that I needed a critique group break. After three years, I was a bit burned out, even though our kidlit group was a great bunch of writer gals. And then something odd happened.

One member of the group moved ALL the way to Texas. Another member embraced her adult romance side–and good thing, because now she has a book contract!–and then dang if another member didn’t move all the way to Minnesota. I mean, suddenly, there wasn’t a critique group to take a break from.

Or go back to. And honestly, I was overwhelmed by so many other things in the spring, professionally and personally, that I figured that my writing would take care of itself. Who needs a critique group, anyway?

And that is where The Critique Epiphany comes in. Which you may not have seen because it was over at The Muffin on Saturday, of the Labor Day weekend.

I understand, y’all. It was a busy weekend, cramming in the last days of summer fun. But maybe you could read it now. Because after Labor Day, everyone goes back to school. And I sort of got schooled about the whole critique group thing.

(Maybe you will, too.)


Catching Up Is Hard To Do

ImageHonestly, I can never quite catch up when I take time off from technology. There’s just too much Twitter, too much Facebook, too much lovely stuff out there that keeps on going, even if I’m (mostly) unplugged. But I shall give a brief accounting for, and will zip around this week to make sure I haven’t missed anything like a Zombie Writer Apocalypse.

Firstly, the writer getaway was lovely and productive. And now you’re wondering just how productive and I will tell you that I got all the way to 33,000 words in the revision. I mean, this was a serious writing writer getaway. More than the word counts, however, was the conversation, the opportunity to bounce around plot ideas and character developments and story arcs. Think of your best critique group meeting ever, multiplied by ten (and throw in a couple adult beverages consumed on a rustic deck overlooking the Georgia mountains) and you’ll have an idea of this working writing vacation.¬†

But I also had the time to read start Twenty Master Plots (It’s a great read so far and I’d recommend it for those of you who are thinking, 20 plots? But there are only five basic plots–)and so while I was on the beach getaway (though not¬†while I was actually visiting with Mom and Dad), I had time to think. And now I’m hacking away at those 33,000 words.

So it goes with revisions and getaways.

Thank you for your lovely votes over at Susanna Hill Leonard’s contest–my story placed and when I know what I’ve won, I’ll let you know. And maybe I’ll give that prize away. (I think it’s a how-to book)

And lastly, just a reminder to keep writing and keep submitting! Send in your stories for the Not Your Mother’s Book series. Those contract emails are going out all the time! And I received payment for a story I sold to The Red Squirrel Magazine (a children’s market in China), so I suppose now I can’t say, “Millions of Chinese people don’t care a whit about what Cathy C. Hall’s doing.”

Maybe a hundred Chinese kids are thinking even now, “Wonder if Cathy C. Hall’s gonna write another scathingly brilliant, not to mention funny, story?”

So it’s back to working and writing for me. Assuming, of course, that’s not a Zombie Writer pounding down my door.