A good critique partner is vital to anyone who is serious about writing. I know people who are in big critique groups, and I've tried that, it doesn't work for me as well as having one critique partner I truly trust.
My critique partner is my friend Linda Schmalz who is herself a published author. Her books are wonderful and you should read them, by the way. The thing I love about Linda's critiques, and those of you who have critique partners know what I mean, is that she's gentle, but firm. I've had partners in the past who have told me, "This is terrible. Why are you even bothering?" And I've have partners in the past who say things like, "well, it's not my cup of tea, but if you like it keep working."
Neither is helpful.
But Linda is one of those rare critique partners who manages to be nice while getting her point across. Take, if you will, my current work in progress; Fresh Ice.
The first time I sent chapters to Linda, she informed me that the story was terrible, the characters were terrible, and frankly, there was no way I could continue writing it.
But she said it so nicely.
Now I've finally, after two years, finished the first draft of Fresh Ice, and Linda, who has been very interested in the story up until now, just dumped a big bowl of ice water over my head.
|Izzy: Don't let the pink skirt fool you|
This lady is tough!
"They've been on a date for a third of the book, " she tells me in an email. "We get it, they love each other. Can we have some conflict, please?"
|Quinn...isn't he ever so dreamy?|
But the bit about creating more conflict was a good point. A book...and this is any book other than a cook book maybe, isn't worth reading if there isn't conflict. If there were no conflict every story would be, "Once upon a time, everyone lived happily ever after."
So Linda's completely right. While I have a wonderful villain in the beautiful and deadly Serena...I don't use her enough. Which is a shame, because she's a lot of fun to write. And let's be honest: Izzy, my heroine, has a lot of people she could be bringing in for conflict and resolution. (Mother issues anyone?)
So I've got a weekend ahead of me, and puzzle piece writer that I am, I'm working on a scene. I don't know where it's going to fit in the final product. That's the fun part about writing puzzle piece style: I write a ton of scenes, and then sort of put them together.
All I know is, Linda is going to love this!