Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Even if you're not in America and therefore not giving thanks by stuffing your face full of turkey and pie, I still want to wish you a happy Thanksgiving since I happen to be very grateful for all of my friends, family, readers, and other bloggers!
In paritcular today I want to give thanks to a group of people I couldn't do without. The Wigz! This is what my critique group call ourselves. My wonderful, amazing, invaluable group consists of myself (obviously), Sherry Gammon, Camelia Miron Skiba, and Jeffery Moore.
|Cami's first wig|
Recently Sherry, Cami, and I were able to have a Wigz writers retreat in New York (see photo below). We thought we were being so clever having it near where Jeff lives so we could at least spend one day with. Shows how smart we were - we were still several hours from him, and he was unable to get away from work. That's why he's not in the photo with us, though I have to say we might have had a hard time getting him into a long, sparkly wig!
|Sherry, Cami, Me|
Cami is responsible for putting our little group together. Her, Jeff, and I were all part of an online class on writing query letters. We got to know each other a little during this time, and when the class ended, Cami asked if anyone was interested in forming a critique group. Jeff and I were the smart ones who said yes, and our group was formed.
In the beginning we were very polite with each other, and our edits consisted of yellow hightlights and writing our comments in red in the text of the manuscript. (None of us knew about the review feature in Word). Now, we're politely harsh with each other. We understand it requires respectful honesty in order to help each other write to our full potential.
A little about these 3 peeps who are so important to me:
Jeff is very humble about how incredibly intelligent he is. It shows in his writing. He writes speculative fiction, and in the time the rest of us have written a few books, he's written 6 full length novels, and is working on his 7th. His books have these incredibly detailed, full worlds and new creatures that are utterly fascinating. He's a huge lover of idioms, the more abstract the better. Instead of "ran like the wind" he might say something such as "scurry away like a cockroach from the sun". Jeff is a dedicated family man, completely clear in how he lives his life and how he speaks of his family. He works as an IT guy, and he works hard - and sometimes really long hours. I think for him writing is his release from the stress of his job. We love having Jeff as part of our group because he gives us great perspective from a man's POV, and tells us when our male characters are saying things a guy would never say.
Sherry joined us a little later. I met Sherry when she came to Utah to see her new grandbaby about a year-and-a-half ago. I'd talked to her online a few times, and she wanted to know if there were any book signing opportunities while she was here. She came to my house to do a multi-author book signing, and I liked her right off the bat. She's extremely friendly, funny, and if she shows up and you're moving things around, she digs right in to help - whether she knows you or not. After returning to New York, she wrote to ask if I knew anyone who was looking to form a critique group like Cami, Jeff and I had. I wrote to Jeff and Cami to see if they knew of anyone who was looking, and they immediately extended an invite to have her join our group. She's been a perfect fit with the rest of us, like she belonged the whole time. Sherry is an amazing YA author who's had her first novel, Unlovable, optioned for a movie. How exciting is that? Sherry and I hit it off so well from our first meeting that we are now business partners in Prose by Design.
Needless to say, without these 3 my writing wouldn't be anywhere near what it is. I love these 3 friends of mine dearly. I can't say enough good about them. I highly encourage you to check them out and read their books. I've enjoyed all their books, in spite of the differences in our genres and writing styles.