As I passed my submission around the table full of critiquers, I trembled with anticipation. Would such a diverse group like my far-out fantasy story? I purred with satisfaction as they laughed at all the right moments. A subtle hum filled the room at my description of a bakery. It was an author’s dream come true.
They got lost in my world.
Face to face critique’s are my personal favorite. Sometimes you get a bad reader and it doesn’t quite create that magical feeling. But for the most part, you can tell if a person is getting drawn into your story by the look on their face, and the sounds they make at key points in the submission. It’s so much easier to see a sentence that needs reworking when the reader stumbles. Sometimes they unconsciously read the sentence the way it should be written instead of the way I wrote it. It’s humbling, instructive, and rewarding long before the reader finishes and people make their comments.
Yesterday was one of those all-time cool moments where it clicked perfectly. I imagine it’s how a magician feels when the crowd “ooo’s” and “ahhh’s” at their tricks. While it doesn’t always work out that well, when it does, it’s very encouraging to know that you have the ability to pull readers in like many famous authors have pulled you in.
Critique groups can be very random. I’ve had two online that really didn’t work out, and one that did. But the face to face group I’ve found surpasses them all. Being a speculative writer, I’d always dreamed of being part of a writer’s group like the Inklings (Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, etc). There’s nothing like a bunch of weirdo’s gathered in a library to critique one another’s crazy ideas, right? The group I’m a part of (Word Weavers) is a bit more diverse than the Inklings. We’ve got non-fiction and fiction writers together, and only a few of the fiction writer’s are of the speculative genre. But I still look forward to our monthly meetings because of how much I learn.
And how much I get encouraged.
Writing can be a very lonely task. And if your emotional at times, like me, it helps to have a team that’s there to cheer you on and challenge you to get better. Knowing that I have to submit something new each month keeps me writing. Knowing that what I write will be better after going keeps me from getting lazy. If you’ve never been to a Word Weavers meeting, I highly encourage you to check one out.
So, where do you get your magical moments as a writer? Who challenges you to take your writing to the next level?