I met with 7 writer friends yesterday. We had a NovelCon–an excuse for us to get together, read a chapter each, and talk shop. It was awesome. Not just because my friends are great writers, but because they’re terrific people. (And Paula happens to be a near-gourmet cook. Lucky us). We all belong to a writers’ group, The Summit City Scribes. We meet twice a month, have 3 readers who get 20 minutes each to share pages with us, and then we go around the table to offer critiques. We’re so different, we zero in on different things. And that’s the strength of our group. Somebody will catch almost any thing that’s gone astray.
The thing is, I’m lucky to have so many good friends who are so freakin’ talented. And it’s nice to touch bases with them outside of Scribes. At a NovelCon, we don’t just read. We talk shop. We throw out plot stumbles that have turned into black holes of “what-ifs” gone wrong. We moan about characters who don’t listen to us and middles that turn to mush. And none of the problems are as big as they look. There’s a plot twist or a minor fix that somebody comes up with, and kazaam!, the book’s a whole again.
We’ve been together so long, we know each others’ strengths and weaknesses. We make suggestions before the book reaches the spot we know it will. We push each other, enjoy each other, and take off on tangents. The bottom line is, we all want each other to write the best book possible. And more than that, we have one heck of a good time in the process.