The hardest one to start off with was the stranger critiquing. December of 2013, one of my biggest fears was showing someone my work. Seriously, if someone walks by when I'm writing, I'm super tempted to shut my computer lid or pull up the internet so they don't read it. If they ask about it, I put them off by saying I'll print it out or send it to them. I don't mean to put it off but I don't want them seeing it and finding out I'm really not a good writer but one of the many people who try but don't have what it takes.
I had to get over it.
When I put my book up on Amazon, I braced for the worst. Fortunately, my first draft has been read by a very small amount of people and the negative has been pretty minimal. The last few months of editing, I've been amazed people weren't meaner. It needed help! Big time!
So, have I gotten over my fear? Not really. But it's gotten a lot better. I still don't like people reading my book when I'm sitting there because I still tend to get sweaty palms but I'm volunteering it more by the day. If strangers ask me what I do, I tell them I'm a writer and then I give them a little synopsis about the book I'm working on. It's my dream job and instead of being scared of it, I'm starting to realize if I want it, I need to have courage and go for it. Will I ever be a best selling novelist? Probably not. Will I someday sign on with a reputable publisher to put my work into the world? Most likely. If I want it enough and work hard enough, it will happen. Now I just need to get there.
Starting January 1st, I decided this would be the year of conquering several of my fears. Putting together a short mental list, I've started working on almost all of them! I looked around online for critique groups but wasn't really too impressed with what I found. I found a free one but no one was very active on it and the one guy who answered me had my book for two weeks and never said a word or sent me his. Needless to say, I deleted his invitation to view my google doc.
I filled out a form for a group called Inspire Writers. They require a paid membership ($50.00 a year which isn't bad) but I wanted to see what they'd say. I wanted to be a part of a Christian group even though my book isn't really in the Christian genre because I didn't want to be reading a lot of the stuff that's going on outside of a Christian group.
I got an email a few days later. The lady was very nice but clear that YA is a constantly growing genre and their groups are full. She also wanted to know if I had a membership and I said no. I don't mind paying for one but I kind of want to know if it would be beneficial to me first. She said the waiting list was quite long to get into the groups. I thanked her for her time and moved on...until a week later when she sent me another email. One of the ladies had decided to start another YA writing group and Carol (the lady who originally had talked to me) was giving me an opportunity to join! Not only that but she said I could do it for three months free to see if it suited me! No brainer.
Now to what I'm going to be working on. I've settled on my King Arthur retelling. For anyone who knows me or read the beginning of this blog, retellings are where I started. The King Arthur story has be retold countless times with so many different angles but I have yet to read one I liked. The elements of my story sound similar to a few I've read but I'm going for a plot line I've never seen before. This is the initial synopsis I'm sending to my critique group.
Eighteen year old Gwen White lives with her abusive mother and new stepfather in a little town which hasn't ever taken notice of her existence. With the loss of her only friend as well as her trusty laptop, life for Gwen has hit an all time low.
When her stepfather sells her out for an experiment, Gwen finds herself in the last place she expected; Camelot. Complete with the knights, the sights, and Prince Arthur, Gwen has to navigate the strange territory in the hopes she'll get back home before the mythical legend takes a deadly turn.
My first chapter is due to be sent out on Sunday (the day after my twentieth birthday!) and I wish it would come already. I'm so nervous about what they'll say. After I get some critiques back, I'll post the chapter along with changes they suggested.