Friday, June 11, 2010


I was chatting with a friend of mine from church yesterday about my upcoming short story collection. She was thrilled with the title (Birds, Bees, & Church Trailer Thieves) and very excited to read it. Which is encouraging. However, there's quite a mix of stories in the book. Many of them are PG-13. I use some crude language. I deal with some darkness.
For those who know me well, this will not be a surprise. But for those who are not as close to me, this will be a surprise, I suspect. It makes me a little nervous to think that I'm opening up a whole side of me to the public. And not just to the public, but to my local community! I know people will form opinions of me based on my writing. It will affect opinions of people who just peripherally know me. Quite possibly some people will think that some of the stories are autobiographical, although none of them are.
Other writers: do you get nervous when people in your local community are about to read your book?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Get Thee to a Writing Group!

I've given at least three talented writers input via the Internet. And I enjoy doing it, although it can be tricky to give constructive criticism without seeing the author's face. I hate the thought that I might hurt someone's feelings. This is why I love my writing group. We meet every other Tuesday, usually 7 - 10 people, and we read our work. Then each person gives his/her feedback. It's a wonderful forum because we can see each other and gauge reactions. Also, it's great to get feedback from multiple points of view. For example, if everyone hates your phrase "her eyes twinkled like cat litter," then you know it probably needs revision. But if only 3 or 4 people hate it, while the others think it perfectly captures the odd beauty of cat litter, then you can make your own mind up. In addition, writer's groups help you understand what is clear and what isn't. You know, as an author, all the secret ins and outs and motivations of your characters and your plot. And when you read your own story, it's all perfectly clear. Yet a group can clue you in to when they were confused. This is a great advantage, especially in editing and rewriting.

I struggled for months to find good feedback. Then I went to and searched for writer's groups. I found over 50 in the Triangle area. If you are a writer and you don't have at least 1 reliable critic, preferably 2, then get thee to a writer's group!