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Thursday, September 13, 2012

More Author Insight: Story Support

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

"Sure! I have a somewhat-fluid group of beta readers and they save my life. Because the one thing I'm absolutely sure of when I finish each book is that it's terrible! And my beta readers are very good at telling me what's wrong with it, but they're also really good at pointing out the things that work. Which is a total life-saver because otherwise I would just curl up in a ball and die." - Barry Lyga, author of I Hunt Killers

"I do. I have writer friends and a fabulous critique group. It’s crucial." - Huntley Fitzpatrick, author of My Life Next Door

"I do! And this is very important to me. They are my cheerleaders, my first critiques, and my staunchest allies." - C.J. Redwine, author of Defiance.

"My in-person critique group meets once a week. I’ve been part of it for maybe four years now and so we know each other well. It’s crucial to my process to have their input. One of them is great at details and word choice, the other at the bigger picture. I encourage all writers to find their group." - Lissa Price, author of Starters. 

"I have lots of writer friends. They make for a great support group. I think that’s important because it’s a rough business. It’s rife with rejections, disappointments, and a stark lack of places to wear ball gowns. It’s also really helpful for an author to have beta readers. They can and do point out things that editors miss—like the fact that straw and hay aren’t the same thing. (Which is another story entirely.)" - Janette Rallison (AKA C.J. Hill), author of Erasing Time.

"I don’t think I could get through this whole journey without my CPs and writer-friends. They seriously mean the world to me, and I trust their judgment 110%. If I’m doing a big revision or have a crazy idea, they’re the first ones to hear about it. And they’re honest enough to tell me if it will work, or if I’m just being ridiculous. Aside from being useful with the writing-stuff, they’re also essential to my mental and emotional health—if I have a tough day, or if I’m stressing, talking with one of them always makes me feel loads better. I have no idea what I’d do without them." - Sarah Maas, author of Throne of Glass

"My friends are something between a braintrust and an army. They've been beta readers, helped me write flap copy, encouraged and advised me when I felt beaten down. I'd be quite lost without them. I'm also part of a funny, supportive bunch of YA writers in Los Angeles and a lovely group of debut authors called the Apocalypsies. We commiserate, exchange information on the business, and help promote each other's work. Writers are asked to do a lot more than write these days. It wouldn't be easy to go it alone." - Leigh Bardugo, author of Shadow and Bone

"I have a little circle of readers and they are essential. Some of them are teens. I teach eighth graders once a week and some of them read my work."  - Kevin Emerson, author of The Lost Code

"Like I said, my husband is a huge part of my support system.  He's my first and most important reader, and honestly I get more nervous about him reading my work than I do my agent or editor.  But I've also come to know an amazing group of writers over the last couple of years, and these are the people I go to when I need encouragement or want to know that I'm not alone, or that it's normal to feel the way I sometimes do.  YA writers are truly some of the most kind, generous, and encouraging people I know!" - Jessi Kirby, author of In Honor

"I do. I have critique partners who comment on my work, and I have writer friends who don’t critique my drafts but just give me emotional support through the ups and downs. And my husband is amazing: he enables my writing more than anyone else. The people who fill these roles are listed on the Acknowledgments pages of my books. I don’t know how I would function without them." - Jennifer Hubbard, author of Try Not to Breathe.

"I have a good friend who has read the rough drafts of all my novels. She’s a magazine editor and has worked in teen magazines so she’s great at giving feedback. Depending on how much time I have, I’ll ask other people to read before handing over to my editor. I really like having fresh eyes on a story because sometimes it’s hard to know if I’m successful putting all the scrambled thoughts in my head into a coherent story." - Elizabeth Eulberg, author of Take a Bow.

"Oh, it's crucial. I listen to everything they say, and more often than not, make the changes. I'm so incredibly grateful to my beta readers for taking the time to read my books. And honestly, I wouldn't have let them read my work-in-progress if I didn't respect and value their opinions. For my new work-in-progress, I have a crit partner for the first time. We're reading each other's work and meet once a week to discuss. It's been great, because it's helping to keep me on a schedule." - Cara Lynn Shultz, author of Spellcaster

Find out Tuesday what the authors want you to know about the business of publishing!

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