I've had a lot of life changes in the past few months, and those changes have rippled to other aspects of my life. One change is that I've no longer been able to meet with my old critique group. Since I'm staying down in SLC, it's just too hard to go to the meetings.
Through pure chance, I happened to go out for frozen custard at this year's storymaker conference with a great group of folks. I got chatting with a few up and coming writers, and over the months I've exchanged e-mails and followed their blogs. Through the course of the discussion we came up with the idea of starting our own critique group.
Tonight was our first meeting. Or rather, the first time we got together to talk about a book. And that book was mine.
It was a great experience. They started off by telling my how much they loved my book. They went on and on until my neck muscles were straining, trying to keep my big head upright. "Tomorrow," I thought. "Tomorrow I'll have agents beating down my door, trying to get me to sign up with them".
And then they tore my book apart. Not the kind of tearing that makes you give up and feel discouraged, but the kind of straight-to-the-point, useful, hard-to-hear-but-exactly-what-you-need-to-hear kind of tearing. The feedback was incredible. They didn't pull punches, but those punches were precisely placed. Everything they said rang true.
I came away with two things last night. Five talented writers think my book is really good, and five talented writers told me how my book can be even better.
Time to get working.