Monday, October 3, 2011

Kindred Spirits: My Writer's Weekend with my Critique Partner

Never underestimate divine appointments when you go to a writer's conference.

My first ACFW conference was Denver 2009. My name tag said, Newbie, or something like that. My agented, experienced roommate had a place to sit at her agent's table at dinner, leaving me to wander until I spotted a table of other newbies and slid into the only chair left. That's when I met Jaime and our interest kindled over the historical romance genre we had in common.

It takes time to find a good fit for critique groups and partners. 

I was told by mentors to be patient and keep praying. After another 6-9 months Jaime and I started to burn up the internet with Facebook instant messages, and brainstorming on winter nights by the fire, hundreds of miles from one another. By the time ACFW Indianapolis rolled around, we couldn't wait--and then came the giggles, lattes, brainstorming in the lobby while we skipped a lecture session--and the gears clicked into place! We shared the same silly stupid humor when we asked Chip MacGregor if the lady-heroine, was spelled the same as the drug--heroin; and somehow couldn't stop giggling about why dead bodies were okay in mystery novels but not in buggies or bonnet books, or apparently historical romances!?

Who knew God could make me laugh so much when He answered my prayers with so much fun and humor?? ROFL.

So when we couldn't get to St. Louis this year, I booked a train and we hatched up a weekend to get together.

The coffee was brewed, the movies were rented, the fire was stoked and our wits and dreams we vented.
Pizza, eclairs, cinnamon rolls, and breadsticks--bring on the carbs, let's watch movies just for chicks!

Like Lizzie and Jane of Pride and Prejudice, whispering under the sheets, we sat each curled under our quilted blankets and dissected Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley--inuendos, facial grimaces, unfurled hands and kisses--just how did Jane Austen make her readers love him?!  Fast-forward, rewind, we want to see that again!

We quickly learned that we compliment each other's strengths and weaknesses. I push Jaime to know her characters motivations more deeply, I make her answer the "why?" until it tingles with truth and believable anticipation. But she pushes me to make my nice characters have something to do that makes my reader interested enough to keep reading.

What fun have you had on a writer's weekend? How do you compliment your critique partners?

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