My critique partner and I met several years ago at a local writers group that is held at our public library. We hit it off immediately when we realized that we both were writing romances. We are actually quite different and this is even apparent in what we choose to write. Of course, you have probably already gathered that I write paranormal romance with urban fantasy and mystery thrown into the mix. She has written several contemporary romances, but her true passion is in her historical romances that take place in America about a large family of siblings in the 1850’s and 60’s.
I tell her frequently how in awe I am of her diligence in researching historical happenings to spur on her stories. She is also very careful to provide an accurate account of how life was in the time frame she is writing about. And while I love to read historicals, I don’t know that I could write them myself. I don’t have the drive needed to dive into the past to write my stories. On the other hand, she tells me that she could not write paranormal stories because they are based on a mythology that the author creates themselves.
Even our writing styles vary. She is more of a linear writer. Writing her first draft from beginning to end and then filling in more when she takes a second and third pass at the story. I have a tendency to jump around when I write. If a scene pops into my head, I write it down first and then fit it into the story later. Again, we chuckle at our differences and continue writing.
So why am I sharing this with you? Because I think there is an incorrect image of a writer that has been perpetuated. All alone, writing frantically and talking to themselves with no help on the horizon. Now, don’t get me wrong…there is frantic writing and mumbling (at least in my life) but a writer’s life is also about connections. How we live and interact and reach out to our critique partners, our families, our friends, and even our readers is reflected in what we write.
If we don’t experience relationships, how can we hope to write about them?
My critique partner has helped me in numerous ways. She might not be writing my words for me. But she is my coach, counselor, and cheerleader when I need her to be. And I hope that I’m the same for her.
So the moral to this blog? Writing is not a solitary endeavor. It is a shared experience.