My critique group meets next Monday, and I’ve just completed my responses to the work submitted for comments. We allow a week for reading up to sixteen pages submitted from each of us and then writing a detailed critique to give to the writer at the meeting. There are three of us in the group. Each of us published. Each of us working on long-term projects. Each of us serious about producing the best work we can. We work hard. For ourselves, and for each other.
The piece I just finished critiquing was a chapter from a novel. This particular chapter has been sent for review three times now…that’s right…three times. No, we’re not tired of reading it. No, it’s not boring. It’s fascinating to actually see the chapter growing and changing, becoming the best version of itself that is possible. Three seems to be the magic number for my group: three of us, three revisions each piece of work. At least that’s the way it seems.
The truth is, revisions are made many, many, many more times than three. Not full revisions, of course. But tweaks and pinches and bits added here and there, and soon we have what I like to think of as “purty-nigh-perfect” pieces of writing. Of course, other readers, agents, editors, may have a different opinion as to how “done” each piece of work is when they read it, but for our group, we are so much in sync, we can fairly well all agree when it’s time to let something go. When it’s time to say a piece is “purty-nigh-perfect,” and move on.
I love that about us. I love that we can be honest, candidly so, at times, but at the same time, we can feel the love, friendship, and true helpful desire that underlies each suggestion made. We are not competitive in the least. There is no need, nor is there a place, for competitiveness in our group. And frankly, there shouldn’t be any in any writers’ group. But that’s a topic for another day.
Today, I just want to say thanks to my partners. Thanks for helping me continue my dream. For encouraging me when I need it most. For keeping me grounded. For demanding my best and giving me your best. I couldn’t do what I do without you.
So, thanks Peg and Sherry. Thanks.