Thursday, January 28, 2010


I had a request for more info about my writing group and it coincided with a spot of warmth I experienced concerning my writing friends. So here goes...

Earlier today I was over at my fellow 'Online Writer's Worshop for Sci fi and Fantasy' workshopper Peter Cooper's blog, where my friend Teresa guest-blogged. (A great article on the quiet moment when everything changes, btw. Check out the links to the right) I've critted some of Peter's submissions and vice versa, and Teresa is a very good friend besides being a faithful crit partner.

Published author Kathryn Magendie left a comment about her character's quiet moment and I knew what she was talking about since I'd read her amazing book Tender Graces (about a woman who returns to her childhood home to make peace with the ghost of her mother who gave her and her brothers up to be raised by another woman.) She also happens to be an editor for a lit mag and wrote me a very encouraging rejection letter. Really, I've read it a few times when I was feeling down.

I read my fb friend (and rat afficianado) Hilary's blog about her 13-month effort to find an agent, and she responded to my question about if I should hold off on sending a query letter to a particular agent until after the pitch session I've signed up for. (Yes. Hubby and Hilary agree, so I will wait.)

The point of this is community. It hasn't taken that long (I had a crit-partners-become-friends within a few weeks on OWW) to find people that I can connect with and who are encouraging and fantastic writers and I wish we all lived near each other so we could meet every Tuesday in a local pub and we could call ourselves something cutesy and literary- maybe the Inklings? Sigh. I am not Tolkien and you are not CS Lewis. Not yet anyway. But you are here and I am here and we are writing.

This is how solidarity revealed itself to me.

A year ago, after four months of obsessical (new word. You like?) writing, I had my rough draft. I knew it needed something. Something so literary and metaphorical and streamlined that I couldn't see it through all of the words that had grown up around the idea. I did a quick search and found an online crit group with a free month trial. That sounded good.

I was literally sweating when I posted my first submission. The writing was really rough, but I didn't realize that at the time. (I was actually hoping to get picked as an 'Editor's Choice' that first time out of the stall.) It didn't happen that quickly, needless to say.

I did a lot of reviews wherein I made comments like "This didn't gel with me. Not sure why." And I reviewed others' work, read other reviews of their work just to see what I was missing. This led to a lot of head scratching for me. What does 'get rid of passive voice' mean? How can they not see the character motivation? It's in there...isn't it?

Joining a workshop taught me how to be critical of my writing, to actually read the words instead of staying in the fantasy land of what I thought I'd written. I write urban fantasy, but still. The reader should be transported to a magical place. The writer shouldn't live there.

Hubby and I watched some of the auditions for American Idol last week and Holy COW! some of those people can't sing. I can't sing either, well, maybe in a choir setting, but I know I'm not a front woman. I did a song (Doobie Brothers, "I Wanna Make It With You". I know, TMI, sorry ) karaoke night at a friend's Christmas party and it cured me of any teensy thought that maybe with a vocal coach...Nope. Not even then.

I tried the local writer's group, but genres are so different and nobody else was fantasy (much less urban fantasy). So it's been really neat to meet these amazing writers online- some still drafting or polishing, some agented and some published.

It's taken a while for me to feel like I'm not some crazy-stalking imposter, but I finally got there. I belong here, keyboard on my lap, stacks of chapters print-outs on the floor beside me. Thanks for being so nice, writers. I'm glad we're friends.


  1. Can I steal that word, "obsessical"? I like!

  2. I find something strangely appealing about the word "obsessical" too! ;-)

    You're great, Kelly! I was thinking the same thing last week. It's just so amazing to me how so many people have become an important part of my life and thoughts online. One of these days, we're going to have one serious "meet-up"!

    Thank you for all your kind words!

    PS: You didn't tell them that you were recently picked for an Editor's Choice and the good things that were said!

  3. Thanks Steph and Teresa! I never held much stock in online dating and friending and what not, but you really can meet people and make friends on he internet. Crazy.

    Do you think it counts towards my goal to go on a date w my husband at least once a week if we email a few times while he's at work? According to this, it should, right?

    And Teresa, thanks for tooting my horn, fellow editor's choicee. I think that's why I first read your submission. I was like, this lady must know something I don't know. And boy, was I right.

  4. Um, actually, I'm just as ignornant as the rest of you! ;-) I just fake it better! (hehe)

    You know what was so funny about that Editor's Choice? I was logging in to take it down because I thought it was so awful, then I got the e-mail and gnawed my nails for a month waiting for the review. lol

    Have fun, Kelly, that's the important thing!

  5. Hi, Kelly! Wandered over here from Kiersten's blog (since your book sounded interesting - and very bold of you to make the pitch, by the way :)) and found myself chuckling and nodding in agreement as I read your About Me dialogue. (Why do we ever think we can write while the kids are awake?)

    And on your family's blog, might that be a temple in the background...? :)

  6. Hi Krista- Welcome! It is a beautiful thing to write surrounded by the family that you love, is it not? Yes, that is the Columbia, SC temple. I take it you are in the Mormon Mafia as well? I'm still waiting for admission into their elite circles, haha. I wish it were true! Thanks for stopping by! I'm off to check out your profile!

  7. Guilty on the Mormon part, not so much on the Mafia. Maybe Kiersten has an in... :)