By Keith N Fisher
We lost one of the group right away, because of time restraints, but we kept meeting.
Shortly afterward, I cooked a Dutch oven meal in my backyard and we read our chapters. Cooking was my way of giving back to the ladies who helped me so much. Soon, we were taking turns hosting our weekly exploration into the fine art of novel writing.
There have been weeks that we couldn’t meet, but we always managed to provide homework chapters to keep the work going. Through it all, I’ve been learning my craft, but most importantly, I grew closer to my sisters, the ladies of my group.
I found I could relate to Jeff Savage when he spoke of his group, and called them The Ladies of Thursday Night. I was the lone testosterone laden voice in a room full of estrogen. With all this romance being written, is it any wonder that I changed my genre? After my contemporary novel about two brothers, was rejected, I brought another story. It had a more feminine feel to it, and I became the writer of women’s fiction.
I discovered a wonderful symbiosis that was my group. Each of the ladies specialized in a different aspect of writing. I received extremely helpful critiques and plot suggestions from a woman’s point of view. I tried my best to fill their pages with red ink, but often, I settled for being the lone masculine voice.
I often got so caught up in their stories, I forgot to look for errors, but the ladies were patient with me. I became a better writer, and cooked for them as often as I could.
After a while, we added a long distance member, but she has her own, more local group. We also auditioned others and added a few who left us, but five of us have stuck with it. When one married into a combined family of ten children, her time was spent elsewhere, but she tries to keep in touch.
I’ve heard stories about critique groups who didn’t mesh with each other. I’ve heard authors tell about writers who just didn’t get it, but I’ve never met five people who care more about each other than we do. We’ve cried about rejections, kicked each other in the pants, and cheered our successes. There have been many, published books come out of our group. I’ve included cover pictures here. Now, with Nichole’s contract, one of those books will be published in the national market.
We met at my house this week, and turned a page. I cooked in Dutch ovens. We cried because one of us is moving to Texas. No worries though, we’ll keep meeting through Skype, or in email, but it won’t be the same. We still have to take the road trip we always planned, but we won’t be able to meet, physically, once a week.
Perhaps, when we’re on the Times Best Seller list, we can meet each week in Honolulu, or in the Cowboy Bar. I promise to keep Tristi out of trouble.
Good luck with your writing—see you next week.