Since my last post in April, my critique partners have been all kinds of busy. Sandra Markle's picture book Waiting for Ice made Bank Street's Best Children's Books of the Year list, Janet McLaughlin released Psyched Out, the second in her Get Psyched series and Augusta Scattergood's debut novel, Glory Be has won multiple awards, including the prestigious Crystal Kite Award. That's a photo of us above, celebrating Augusta's win last week with other Tampa Bay children's writers. I'm honored to be part of this talented, dedicated group.
They deserve credit for my productivity and the growth of my writing. I come away from each critique energized and eager to get home so I can write more story and improve on what they've read. This week, they'll review my synopsis and find the weak points in my plot so I can shore up those places as I revise. In the weeks ahead when this book is ready to submit to agents, they'll be there to keep me sane while I wait for responses. They know the cost of rejection and the value of even the slightest encouragement from an agent or editor.
I was motivated recently to join Goodreads so I can review books, including those of my new writer friends. It's a rewarding way to support authors and good books. The more published authors I meet, the more I realize how important these connections are to success. And it isn't all about money or selling our books. It's about sharing our love for children's literature and our desire to create books worthy of a child's bookshelf.
Besides polishing my manuscript, another summer goal is to revamp my blog and website. When I created it, I was studying picture books, thinking my art background would translate into that genre. But I learned after two years, that I don't have a picture book voice. I'm not sorry for the experience. Learning is never wasted and I met the most wonderful, talented people. Now, my writing travels a young adult path and I'd like the website to reflect that.
I wish you happy writing and encourage you to connect with other writers. If physical connections aren't possible, meet writers online. It will enrich your life and your craft.