They say it takes a village to raise a child. I’m now in a position to say that this is true, especially when the child in question is a book and the village is a community of critique partners.
I suppose by now many of you have assumed that my blog is a thing of the past. Sometimes it’s felt that way to me, too. This is a case of best-laid plans – since we’re dealing in aphorisms here. Twenty-four hours only stretches so far, and thanks to my community of critiquers, my time has been filled to the max for the last few months.
You may remember that I’d planned to release the first three books in the Calter Creek series this past summer. That was before I joined the From the Heart online chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Arguably, joining FTH was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my writing life.
FTH has a critique loop. My first submission – the first chapter of Amanda – got a lot of responses. And suddenly I was looking at a whole new ball game.
When you submit a book for critique from fellow writers, you also critique a work of theirs. I found myself not only working through up to eight sets of comments about my novel, but also reading and writing critiques for eight other women, eight other novels. The FTH process was a thrill, not only because of the changes in Amanda, but also because I got a first-reader look at some incredible work.
Inspired by the positive effect FTH had on Amanda, I began to explore other critiquing options. Through the PRO loop (also part of RWA) I found three more critique partners, and a fourth is a member of my local writing group. So Pat and Mel went through their own critique processes, and once again I was privileged to read and critique some excellent work by fellow romance authors.
But all of this takes time.
My three books have all benefited immeasurably from these outside, objective, and sympathetic extra sets of eyes. My village came through, and I face my self-imposed publication deadlines with a lot more confidence.
The publication date is so close I can almost taste it. The book covers have been designed, the blurbs are (almost) written, Amanda is finished – finished! – and the other two have had their final edits. Now to spend the time on the last read-throughs, deal with formatting, and hit the button, which should be in late October or early November.
Once it’s done … ah, magical words. I’m sharing a writing retreat with a fellow author in a couple of weeks, which for me will focus on moving forward, not polishing off what’s already been. The next Calter Creek book, Julie, has a reasonably solid outline and some of the opening scenes written. I’m chomping at the bit to do some actual writing instead of months and months of revisions. But being a plotter, I expect the retreat will focus at least as much on the outline as on producing a new scene or two. (It’ll also feature playtime, massage, food I haven’t had to cook myself … oh, yeah, I’m ready for a break.)
With any luck, more time also means a saner schedule, and that means a return to my poor, neglected blog. I like writing these rambles. I’ve missed it.
Talk to you soon!