I enjoyed a ‘writerly’ evening with another novel writer, Denise Barnes who is also preparing her first fiction work. She’s already published a non-fiction book which can be seen at her site.
We swap hints and tips, recommend and exchange books, encourage each other about courses and competitions. But the best thing is that we read each other’s work and critique it. Now you have to get on well to do this, so well that you can say things that may seem harsh. With both of us going through the same process, we can empathise as well as criticise.
Her novel is a dual time-line family story, mine an action thriller. While our imagined worlds are quite different, we get really involved in them. It’s spooky when she turns round to me and says things like,’You know that’s the sort of thing Karen (my heroine) would say.’
Trust is key: you are handing over your ‘baby’ for another to look at, assess and critique. But hopefully that person will stand as a godparent/patron/responsible adult and help the infant mature into a full-grown adult.
Update: Since I wrote this over three years ago, I’ve published three Roma Nova thrillers. Denise, my critique partner has written another non-fiction book, also on her site, and her novel has expanded into a cracking trilogy. Neither of us would have reached this point without the other.
If you write, find a critique partner/writing buddy – worth their weight in gold!