Wahoo!!! (And Yay for Critique Groups)

I’m so excited! I received an email last night to let me know the newest issue of The Chick Lit Review is up on the website…with my short story in it! Spunk is my first successful attempt at first person writing as well as my first successful attempt at chick lit. This has to be the perfect way to start a week.

I ended last week on a good note as well. I submitted a short romance story a few weeks ago and heard from the editor Friday. She likes the plot and everything, but it needs to be longer. After reading her note, I understand what she means about it needing to be longer. All I have to do is lengthen it and make sure it’s as perfect as possible, then resubmit. My writing life is good.

I’ll be honest. When I first got that request to lengthen the story it scared me a bit. I had no idea where to take the story next to make it longer. I’d originally written it until the ideas stopped flowing and it came to a natural conclusion. After a day and a half of beating my head on my desk to try to come up with a way to make the story longer, I finally did what I should have done in the first place: I sent a message to one of my online critique groups. Four people volunteered to take a look at the story and see if they had any suggestions. By yesterday afternoon, they’d sent their ideas and those messages sparked off ideas in my mind. I now have another short scene written and I have a fairly good idea of how the story ends. All I need to do now is write a scene or two to go in between, then I can revise the story and send it off once more.

This is a perfect example of why I’m such a supporter of critique groups. If I hadn’t belonged to this group, I’d probably still be beating my head on my desk. Other writers in the group have been stuck or needed something critiqued on a tight deadline, and I’ve been there for them. It’s nice to see the group work the way it’s meant to…writers helping writers, providing encouragement and support during the writing and submitting process, offering sympathy when someone receives a rejection, and celebrating when someone is published. They’re also there to offer moral support during difficult times in personal life.

I wouldn’t trade this group for anything. They’re my writer buddies, and a couple of them have become friends, even though we’ve never met in real life and probably never will. I’m sure an in-person group is just as great, but I’ve never found one in my area to know for sure. I can guarantee there are great online groups for those of us unable to meet with a group in person. Of course, just like anything in life, you’re liable to find groups that don’t meet your needs or that you just don’t click with. I’ve been lucky so far. The first online crit group I joined turned out to be a great place with wonderful people.

Now for a bit of encouragement for anyone feeling like they’ll never make it as a writer. This good writing news of mine? It comes after years of writing, learning more about the craft, and countless rejections for various projects. I also thought I’d never be able to write a good short story since I’m mainly a novelist. Obviously, I was wrong since I’ve had two short stories published and an editor interested in another one this year alone. I encourage you to expand your writing horizons. Not only is the change of pace refreshing, you just might find success in the new branch of writing while you continue to work on whatever area your heart truly lies in.

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