(Giving) Thanks to my YA Critique Partners!

'Tis the time of year to give thanks for what you have. And many times that translates to who you have in your life. Of course I'm thankful to ALL my friends, family, and fellow foodies for their support through a rough year and rough times ahead. For all the warm fuzzies, well wishes, shoulders to vent and cry on, and baked goods galore. Y'alls are the best. But I did want to take a moment and thank those who have been especially helpful for a writing project I've been tackling. Being NaNoWriMo month and me focusing on a complete revision of my young adult (YA) novel I wanted to take a moment and give HUGE, MAGNANIMOUS thanks to my critique partners for this young adult project, tentatively titled The Facility. Your reading and re-reading (and re-reading) as well as your advice, well wishes, and kindness has been helpful beyond expression. :-)

While I have a growing list of great people and fellow writers to thank for my growth as a writer from the time I started in junior high to now I'm singling out the ladies who have aided me in getting more confidence as I pursue the YA project that had been in my mind since I started undergrad and just never thought I had the chutzpah to pursue. Well, nine years later here it goes.

I met my CPs on WriteOnCon when there was a launch for a kind of blind dating of potential CPs. You posted your project to the forum and looked at what others posted and you inquired with each other and submitted work. If you liked each other's style then you connected and from then on things went very well for me!

Amy Christine Parker

What I admire most about Amy is not only her writing style but her organization and ability to get stuff done. Amy's debut The Silo is coming out next year with Random House and it's a whopper lemme tell you. When I read the first few pages I was thinking to myself "This is so good. I want to read more! Crap, I hope she likes my work!"

Amy hones into her characters and their deepest fears. (If you've read her stuff on Fiction Femme Fatale you'll know what I mean.) Her contemporary work is original and something I'm confident readers will grasp on and relate to. It hits you from the first page and you relate to everyone in some way, the good and the bad.

Amy has been great with helping me think on the bigger picture and connecting the dots on things I may not have seen in my work. We're all pretty critical when we read a book and think "Well why didn't the writer think of that?" Amy is that reader who aids you as writer to zone in on that so the story doesn't go off-kilter at any point and you can enjoy the piece. In my latest revision her advice has been astoundingly helpful and also hit points that I had been questioning myself.

Jenny Coon Peterson

Jenny is a magnificent world builder and has a deep love for the young adult and the fantastical. She's been incredibly helpful in terms of moving things along and also digging deeper into what should urk the reader. Which is totally what I was going for! Jenny has helped me tighten action scenes and push deeper in terms of the larger piece so that it moves faster and doesn't drag.

Jenny is also an idea person. She has amazing premises and thoughts on how to move things along. Every NaNoWriMo I'm amazed and in awe of how much material she produces and how deep she goes into the worlds she creates. The first novel I read of hers reminded me of Harry Potter. When I read it and reread it, I wanted to get lost in it again, but I had to give her critiques asap! Knowing her love for Potter I saw the influence but also her own twist and originality in creating a cool group of people and a multitude of layers for a series that I'm certain will be embraced by readers.

Nicole Settle

Nicole is a phenom when it comes to pacing. Every time I read her work I'm amazed at how much happens in so few pages. Her prose is fast-paced but you get so much in the details of what she adds in. From her work I learn precision. I keep reviewing her stuff in the hopes that it'll seep into my brain by osmosis. She hits the darkside of things in her writing while always maintaining to insert a bit of hope.

Nicole has been great in letting me know what works even if I'm concerned it doesn't while also noting tweaks and changes in details, characters, and scenes. And because of her knowledge of the genre she pinpoints aspects of these characters lives I should consider for later on.

Nicole is also a baking nut like myself. Baking bonds so many people.


I'd also like to give thanks to Carrie Bastyr who read preliminary bits of this work. Her advice has also helped as I revise the series.

These ladies have helped me immensely in the revision stages. Having CPs who are avid readers and detailed critiquers will advance your work by leaps and bounds, I promise you.

So, as I plug away on the 3rd draft and look over the insightful comments from my CPs, I just wanted to extend a very big, interwebz, pre-Thanksgiving THANKS for all your help and support. Your advice, your persistence, your wonderful writing first and foremost, has inspired and helped me grow. And I'm super glad we connected via WriteOnCon. :-)