Guest post by Margie Gelbwasser, author of INCONVENIENT, Flux November 2010.
I had a writing group while working on Inconvenient. However, by the time I finished the first draft, we disbanded. Lucky for me, one member of that group—Vinessa—and I became close friends, and she continued to read each subsequent Inconvenient revision. When I was ready to throw up from boredom or was convinced a scene or even the entire manuscript was garbage, she encouraged and read again and again and again, giving me valuable feedback. I was super happy and thankful, but I was greedy too. One crit partner was not enough for me. I wanted another. Maybe even—gasp—a whole writing group!
For a while, I was convinced a critique group was the way to go. A group screamed cozy. We'd get together, read each other's pages, do lunch, have inside jokes. Never mind that my first writing group, while very helpful, was not this romantic. But I was determined.
It felt like dating again—minus the fun parts. I asked writing friends if they knew others who were looking for crit partners. Preferably those who wrote YA too. Contemp YA, to narrow it down further. I posted inquiries on message boards. I even tried to shimmy my way into existing writing groups (just FYI, doing this is as acceptable as trying to break up a married couple). Just like the dating scene, it was getting depressing and tiring.
Then, when I had given up on the group idea, there was Shaun (http://www.shaundavidhutchinson.com/). He wanted crit partners. I wanted a crit partner. We swapped pages. And, cue fab '80s music, I found my new writing partner!
Turns out, individual writing relationships are more my speed these days. We send pages to each other when we can. We're only responsible for reading one other's person's pages (a godsend when on deadline), and we e-mail ideas back and forth, without worrying that we're hogging the group's time. Shaun and I became good friends too, AND I still have Vinessa. I'm a lucky girl!
Right now, I'm finishing up the first draft of YA #2, currently titled Chicken Carcasses and Other Things That Kill the Mood. That thud you hear is my editor banging his head on the wall. Good thing I have two great crit partners to help me think of a new title.
Find Margie Gelbwasser on Twitter @MargieGelb, and become an Inconvenient Facebook Fan!