I enjoy writing and spend hours doing so. I do not belong to a writing group where I can share my work as I make my way to publication. Not because I don’t want to share or read other people’s work, but because I have a system…a network that came to be all on its own.
The most prominent element in this ‘system’ is my dear friend Ursula. She reads everything, over and over again. She has read every story I have written over the past few years and more versions of Amethyst Eyes than you can imagine. I cannot tell you how important her role in my writing is. She has got to be the most dynamic editor I know. If I make a mistake, I hear about it in a heart beat. If there is something vague or unclear, she’ll throw it back. If she doesn’t like it, well, from this side of the fence, there appears to be no ‘politically correct’ way to say it…
She will argue her point until she’s blue in the face, or I can produce some acceptable supporting documents. She admits to not be the greatest when it comes to imagining or visualizing something…but for me, the author, I couldn’t ask for a better person to critique my descriptions, because if I can get Ursula to ‘see’ it, well then I know I’m on the right track.
I have to laugh at times, when she stands her ground and tries to get me to change or remove some element that she believes doesn’t belong. I have to remember that I am writing the story, and her opposition helps me be sure of the decision to keep that part, word or sentence.
What of the rest of my network?
The other seven members of my Amethyst Eyes revision team only came into play once the manuscript had been completed, revised several times and professionally edited. I waited for their opinions, comments and feedback. I purposely chose an eclectic group of people to see what they had to say, and when I asked a hardcore Stephen King fan to read my YA novel, I knew it was the farthest thing from her genre and personal taste. I was really surprised when she said she’d liked it.
By the time I was ready to publish there were little changes to be made, but Ursula reread it again with me. We rehashed details all the way to the author bio and book cover.
I can’t imagine having to write without Ursula’s input. I suppose would have to turn towards a writing group, because I believe feedback is essential to good writing. I am so very grateful for her time and input.
Do you belong to a writing group? Do you have your personal network of readers or do you do it alone?