Monday, January 25, 2010

Iron Sharpens Iron

I received an e-mail a few days ago from an old friend asking me if I knew an agent he could approach with his novel. I asked him "When did you start writing?"

"Oh, a couple of months ago," he replied. "It's finished and ready to be published."

Oh my!

"Are you in a critique group?" was my next question and the conversation turned stressful for both of us from there. Four years ago, I was where he is today - the next James Patterson looking for an agent. That novel is in the ash heap never to be resurrected. The honest approach is always best. Publishing is a business. The economy and technology demand educated authors who have slaved over our craft and exposed ourselves to rigorous critique. Aspiring authors need people around us who are willing to bloody our noses if necessary to improve our work. I hope my friend got the message.

The picture above left is of members of the Hawk Critique group. Left to right: Mary Ann Powers, John Biggs, Lela Davidson, and myself. Absent, but soon to be featured on this blog in future interviews, are Mary Magee and Lynette Bennett. Our group has devoted its time to improving each other's work, We are brutally honest when reviewing a member's writing. And yes, we can still hug after each meeting.

I look forward to seeing each of my friends published and enjoying the rewards that brings. I know they feel the same way. A writer who isn't in at least one critique group is like a ship that has sailed into Pacific Ocean alone without a compass or an understanding of the stars - lost in perilous waters.


Ed said...

That's good advice. I know when my first game book was published, our editor tore me up. I thought I was a decent writer, but I learned differently. Now I feel cheated if my manuscripts are not covered in red.

johnbiggs73162 said...

Maybe you should let your friend basque in innocence for a little while longer. It takes a long time to develop a taste for an editors red ink.