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A Love Letter to My Writing Critique Group

My dear, dear writing critique group,

How long have we been meeting like this? Twenty years? More? It’s time to reflect on our relationship.

It wasn’t love at first sight for us. Oh no.  We were wary of each other and had to build a certain level of trust. Sharing writing is like baring your soul, and you can’t do that when you don’t t know whether the other might reach in and rip out your heart. Your guts. Or worse! Your oh-so-perfectly crafted story.

But slowly the trust developed, we were gentle with each other, yet honest. We became each other’s sounding boards, first readers, and finally – (drum roll here) – the great aunties of each other’s new books. We’ve become dependent on the fresh perspective a second and third set of eyes can reveal.

We’ve helped each other fine-tune our stories by asking the questions that have shed light on plot holes and missing character motivation. We’ve spotted cliches and repeated words. I would never show my work to a publisher before first hearing back from you.

My dear writing critique group, you have been there for me when I needed propping up, when I needed a push to keep going and, most importantly, when I needed constructive feedback. You were there to celebrate book contracts and new releases. You understand this longing to write, to create fiction that we hope has meaning and will find an audience.

Our critique group has grown from being one of merely professional relationships to one of  close friendships. We share the highs and lows of our lives with each other, and watch how personal growth influences our work. We understand that our books are not memoirs but are shaped by the challenges and joys in our lives.

Thank you, my beloved critique group, for being there with me through the twenty years of my writing career. I know I would never have been offered publishing contracts without you helping me mold my stories into something readable. Baring my soul, and my writing, has become so much easier.

With gratitude and love,

Shelley

http://kldenman.com

www.dianetullson.com