Writers Don’t Work Alone

My first completed manuscript was awful. I’ve saved it, but shared it with no one. It was an exercise is completing a plot and proving to myself I could do it. My second completed manuscript was awful, too, but I thought it was better, and I shared it with my first writing critique partners, fellow members of the Guppies (Great Unpublished) subgroup of Sisters in Crime.

I was so lucky. One person hated it and didn’t finish it, and her harsh critique was pretty accurate. The other found the strengths in the mess, the gems in the muck, and supported me. She loved my characters so much she took an incredible amount of time to graciously point out my beginner writing mistakes and to explain why they were mistakes. She was under no obligation to work that hard for no pay. Yet she did. She was more experienced, and she saw promise in this beginner.

My first book, The Calling, emerged from that manuscript a few years later. It has many of the same characters. It has the same theme. But not the same plot. My style and structure improved. I read books on writing, took classes on writing, and worked with additional critique partners. With all that the help over the years of revision and polishing, I crafted a solid, favorably-reviewed book.

This week, I finished a critique of a first-time novelist’s manuscript. I’ve read three versions of it, investing in this book the way my early critique partner invested in mine. The author is gifted. She made newbie errors, but I could see the gems beneath them, as could her other beta readers. She had an original idea, fascinating characters, and outstanding research. I’ve been a published author for going on ten years now. It felt good to “pay it forward.” I may be alone at my desk tonight, but not a single book I’ve published has truly been written alone.

Published by

Amber Foxx

Author of Mae Martin psychic mystery series.

Comments are welcome. Please share your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.