We meet in person once a month after our RWA meeting. You'll usually find us at a Cotton Patch in Colleyville around a table laughing and talking and the waitresses there are so sweet, they never make us feel like we've overstayed our welcome even when we've been there for hours and ordered nothing but dessert and something to drink.
I love hanging out with these gals and brainstorming. I come back from our sessions pumped up with creativity and jazzed to get back into writing. It's amazing how a table full of creative people can uplift your own creative energies.
Chrissy. She's the baby of the group, both in age and in when she joined RWA and really got serious with her writing journey. She's such a hard worker though and in a relatively short time, her writing went from "needs a bit of work" to "amazing". She has a stubborn protective streak when it comes to her characters. In a brainstorming session if we suggest putting her characters in harmful situations, I can see her mentally shift in front of her characters with the stance of a protective mama bear: "Oh, no, you aren't putting my characters through that." It's rather amusing and very cute. But then after she takes a moment to process, she'll go ahead and put her beloved hero and heroine through as much hell as the rest of us do to ours anyway. Somebody has to suffer for literary greatness, right?
This is Jen and Gina. Two of the most amazing generous, get-the-job-done people I know. Actually I can say the same about Chrissy and Michelle. All my critique partners are hard-working generous people, who end up volunteering to do a lot of things that benefit others for our chapter.
Jen is our grammatical go-to goddess. Once my writing has passed through her fine-tooth comb, I know it's in a fairly stable shape. It won't need life-support at any rate. Her writing tends to hone in on characters going through periods of growth and self-realization. Strong people becoming stronger. Much like Jen herself. Out of all of us, I sometimes think she doesn't see how good of a writer she really is.
And Gina is so calm and able to focus on a story-line as a whole, seeing the big picture and what the characters need to go through in order to have their happily-ever-after. Even when she speaks, she has that peaceful lulling kind of quality in her voice. She's a tinkerer though, always finding a new scene that could be added to make a story better. I'll bet if she could, she'd go back and tinker with her books that are already published.
This is Michelle. She's a go-getter, knows exactly what she wants out of a writing career, and isn't afraid to go out and grab the bull by the horns to get it. She writes the most genuinely true-to-life character interaction scenes I've ever read. The characters might be doing something mundane and simple, yet I'm hanging on every word, every movement.
So, that's them, my critique partners, women I treasure as friends and as my first readers who won't let me get lazy or take easy short-cuts and keep my writing focused and on track.
Love 'em. Share the love and check out their sites if you get a chance.