I remember my very first critique group. I couldn’t believe REAL writers had invited me to be a part of them. Pretty sure I wanted to puke as I walked up to the old, colonial house and knocked on the door. In my memory it is fall, but I really can’t remember.
What I do remember is the intense almost-but-not-quite anticipation of waiting for my critique. I remember it being thrilling and terrifying… like having sex for the first time—a bajillion exciting emotions laced with the fear of “what if I get it wrong?”
I’d turned in a short story that I thought was good. Actually, I thought it was great! There was emotion. There was heartbreak. There was a sacrifice and a plot twist!
But when this group opened their mouths, what I heard was, “I like the writing style and the voice, but the story needs more XYZ. It really didn’t make sense. I didn’t feel there was much of a middle here, which meant we didn’t understand the man’s choice at the end.”
I. Was. Crushed.
And those pages, friends? They bled ink.
I smiled and nodded my way through it. I thanked everyone and agreed to come back again. But that night I went home and cried.
Because I wasn’t very confident in my abilities or myself.
Because a story I had worked so hard to write hadn’t measured up.
Because I wasn’t even sure I knew how to fix it.
Do you ever feel like that? Like you have all these characters roaming around in your head but you just aren’t sure how to do justice to the story they’re showing you?
Or maybe you’ve taken a crack at it, jotted down notes and scenes, but you really aren’t sure how to bring that all together in a novel that leaves your readers begging for more?
It took me YEARS to figure out how to build a story that kept my readers turning page after page!
I attended that same writing group over and over. I read all the blogs and all the books. I attended conferences, swapped stories online, was willing to read anything and everything if it would just help me connect the dots.
And that’s what I want to share with you.
The dots.
The main guideposts you need to get your story started, handle all that stuff in the middle, and get your draft across the finish line, all while holding the creative confidence to beat doubt and conquer fear.
If that sounds like it’s right up your Diagon Alley, come join me for JUMPSTART YOUR NOVEL—my FREE live-on-line workshop where I’m dishing all the deets on how to start (or restart!) you story and the strategy you need to finish it.