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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Author Insight: Story Support

Do you have a writerly support system? How important is it to your process?

"Nope, I’m pretty solitary. Though I do have a dream of taking a writer’s retreat with Stephanie Perkins, John Green, and Maureen Johnson (Hey guys? Call me!). I don’t know how much writing I’d get done, what with all the pee-your-pants-laughing nerdfighteria that would be going on, but I’m pretty sure I could die happy when it was over!" - Lauren Morrill, author of Meant to Be.

"I have the ROR novel-writing workshop, which has been invaluable over the years, although the workshops haven’t always synced with a book draft. We last met in Tasmania in January, and I was thrilled with all the useful feedback I got for the current novel. I also have Jan Cornall’s Draftbusters, which is for whatever writing I happen to be doing at the time; it was instrumental in getting Tender Morsels finished, and for significant encouragement during the writing of Sea Hearts." - Margo Lanagan, author of The Brides of Rollrock Island

"Not really. I like input after the thing is done, or before I start. I work with my agent before turning something in, but I don’t want to give my editor something that’s been reworked a bunch of times, with a bunch of different opinions. By then I’d be exhausted on a project." - Dan Krokos, author of False Memory

"I don't go to critique group meetings any more, but I do have a trusted set of readers. It's utterly vital." - Martha Brockenbrough, author of Devine Intervention

"Oh yes. I have a long-standing critique group of five. We've been together about 8 years now - longer for some of them. They are what keep me going and focused. I've also got some beta readers -- which is new for me -- two people who I trust to read and entire novel and be constructively 'mean' to me. And my agent, Jen Rofe, is a highly editorial agent, which I love. In fact, she's about to make me revise my WIP another time. She always says, 'You'll hate me. Then you'll thank me.'" - Joy Preble, author of Anastasia Forever

"Cynthia is my main reader, but we have a great community here in Austin, and I’ll occasionally ask someone to take a look at a manuscript if something is particularly vexing me." - Greg Leitich Smith, author of Chronal Engine

"Absolutely. I think critique partners aren't just important, but utterly necessary. My co-bloggers at YA Highway are my beta readers and some of my best friends. We talk every single day. I also have a handful of writer friends in the San Diego area I see every month or so, which is great." - Kirsten Hubbard, author of Wanderlove.

"Yes, I have crit partners and I am part of a network of 40 or so debut authors who share experiences often and updates once a week. It is VITAL!" - Cyn Balog, author of Touched

"Yes, and they are INSANELY IMPORTANT to my process. My readers point out facets of my draft that I missed completely or underdeveloped. I need other sets of eyes to help me see my work for what it is." - Dayna Lorentz, author of No Safety in Numbers

"I am not particularly drawn to contemporary writers for writerly support. And I don’t even know what a beta reader is. I’m not a joiner by nature. However, I look up to and admire certain artists, say Arnold Lobel or Lois Lowry, Richard Ford or Kurt Vonnegut, Patti Smith or Bob Dylan – there have been so many great ones over the years – and I appreciate how they have provided bright and shining examples of what a true artist can be." - James Preller, author of Before You Go

"My husband and best friend are the first people to read my writing. After that, I hand it off to my crit group. If it wasn’t for this support system, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today." - Katie McGarry, author of Pushing the Limits

"Yes, I have a critique group that meets once a month. I enjoy hearing their feedback and discussing writing with them, but it isn’t as important to me now as it was before I had an agent." - Sarah Tregay, author of Love and Leftovers

"Once again, because we write as a team, we have each other, which can be enormously valuable. But that doesn’t always do the trick. Sometimes, we can get a bit too insular and we need to bring in an outside perspective. When that happens, we give our work to our agent, who has an unerring editor’s eye for both story and character. She has given us some of the best notes on our work we’ve ever gotten. We also give our work to writer friends from the movie business, which provides a different and invaluable perspective. Stacy’s teenage daughter has also proved a good source of notes and commentary from a reader’s POV. Because we’re new to the YA world, we’re still building our YA writer network. We’re slowly finding people we can trust and hoping to find more as other YA writers can often provide some of the best feedback since we’re all in the same boat, so to speak." - Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas, co-authors of From What I Remember

Find out Thursday if the rest of the authors have a writerly support system!
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