Monday, January 23, 2012
Partners in Crime by Linda S. Glaz
It is painfully obvious when an agent receives a submission that only the individual’s: wife, mom, sister, brother, dad, best friend, or other has read. There are often so many mistakes that it’s difficult to reply with any encouragement. How do I know this? Because early on, I sent out submissions in much the same condition. And received far kinder words of encouragement than I deserved.
And let’s face it, we all can’t afford to attend a writing school that costs nearly as much as a decent used car. So what can we do to increase our chances of getting a “yes” in return for all of our efforts?
Let’s pretend there aren’t hundreds of absolutely wonderful books out there to help us on our journeys. Or that free classes by the dozens don’t exist on line. Or that Faithwriters, ACFW, and myriad other organizations aren’t available for us to dissect and digest their accumulative brain power. Where does that leave us?
Partners in crime. Partners who will be honest and helpful, who will give you an evaluation that will move you forward, not pat your hand or your ego. When I got serious about writing, only four years ago, and fifteen years after I actually started, and by serious, I mean willing to start to hone my craft and not merely write, write, write. Anyway, at that point, I dug into classes, attended more conferences, and began online relationships with a virtual stranger I’d met through ACFW. We were kind to each other, tried to offer tidbits of helpful knowledge, and then took off the gloves. We gradually added four more to our little BAND OF BROTHERS, sorry ladies, it doesn’t have the same military ring the other way, and decided the only way to truly get better was to dig deep, and toss all the egos. Now, mind you, we did this kindly, but honestly. We offered hope with each need to do better, and we worked at it through the times when life kicked our butts-hope that’s okay-but we prayed each other through, rewrote, re-edited, and re-applied God’s principles until we all knew we were headed in the right direction. Everyone is now published, agented, or all of the above. And those who aren’t pubbed yet are having serious reads by editors.
I could be sitting here saying, “Yessir. I’ve been writing for 20 years! Just no one out there smart enough to pick up this wonderful novel. My cousin said so.” And doing nothing to improve. Convincing myself the agents/editors just don’t like me. Personality problems, God’s timing isn’t right, I’ve written it ten times and that’s enough, right?
If you’re the hamster running the wheel, jump off! Find a crit group with writers at all levels, each has something wonderful to offer, and start to take your talent to another level. Be thankful for mom and her assessment, but let other writers steer you to success. Maybe God’s timing isn’t your timing because He’s doing your part and you aren’t.
CRITIQUE PARTNERS in crime. Invaluable!