Welcome Ms. Bowen to The Roses of Prose. Keep reading to find out how you can win one of her books!
Critique partners. Love ‛em? Hate ‛em? Need ‛em? I’ve had more than a few. Some good, some bad. A few wandered off and got lost somewhere. Are you still out there? I’ve been told I need them, and I’ve been warned against using them. Here are a few things I’ve learned about the elusive and highly valued critique partner.
1. Never a friend or family member. Your sister might be a great Beta reader, but CP? No.
2. Where to find them? Mine have all come from on-line classes. Similar genres and similar goals are helpful. You want to publish your work, so find someone who also wants to publish.
3. Never take your CP’s word for a fact change to your manuscript. You’ve got Google. Check it out. If they’re right, you learned something. If they’re wrong, you dodged a bullet.
4. If you’re the one questioning a fact, send a link to support your suggestion.
5. Correct their spelling, punctuation and repetitive errors without assuming they don’t know how to spell. They’ve read their work a dozen times. Their brain sees it as it should be, not how it is. Help a CP out and just add the apostrophe and skip the lecture on contractions.
6. Always welcome suggestions, but don’t feel obliged to take them. Sometimes, a crazy idea from your CP will spark something completely different inside your head.
7. Never be upset if they don’t take your suggestion. They know where they’re going with their story.
8. If they wander off, let them go. Set them free and wish them well. Re-tweet their successes and don’t ask why, just let it go.
9. When you find one you work well with, it is magic. I love my critique partners, and I know my work is much better, fuller, and cleaner because of their efforts.
10. Appreciate their hard work. A well done critique shows, with lots of corrections, suggestions and questions. In return, read their work—twice—and be an advocate for their success.
I know I wouldn’t have the success I’ve enjoyed without my critique partners. A shout out to C.A. Jamison and Jodi Hale for their unflagging support and tough love.
I welcome additions to my CP list in the comments below. One commenter will receive a free ebook of either my novel Passage, or one of the anthologies I have a story in. Winner’s choice!
Passage - blurb:
After a car accident, Courtney Veau has a “near death” experience, and returns to her past-life in the post-Civil War west. When she wakes in a present-day hospital, Courtney realizes she’s returned to her own hollow existence. Heartbroken, she knows she left behind not only a family she loves, but life with the man who shares her soul, a man she’ll love forever, Merril Shilo.
A carriage accident nearly takes beautiful Nichole Harris’s life, stealing her memories completely. Plagued by amnesia, she is confused by flashes of memory that are out of time with the world around her, and seem to belong to someone else. Only Nichole's own strong emotions remain to guide her—and as others try to take control of her life, she fights a desperate battle to survive. Merril Shilo is someone she should know, and though her memories fail her, she is stunned by her passion for him—and the remembered agony of a broken heart.
Merril Shilo is the love of Courtney’s life—no matter when that life might be. The memories and emotions of her life as ranch heiress Nichole Harris consume Courtney’s mind—and her heart. Courtney soon finds her desire for Merril threatens her sanity, as he beckons from a past she can no longer reach. She would give her life to return to her soul-mate, if she could only find the passage back to him.
Passage - excerpt:
The long shadows faded into twilight. She'd found what she came for—proof this house existed. There was no longer a reason to stay; and yet, just the possibility she might hear his voice again kept her waiting one more day.
Outside the window, night took final possession of the day. A few porch lights came on down the block. Headlights swung around the corner as a car turned onto the street and illuminated the pavement. The headlights winked off and a car door slammed.
Behind her, the room took on a familiar chill. She turned from the window and pressed her back against the heavy drapes as the echo of boots pounded up the back stairs. She gasped when he raced into the room, vaguely luminescent in the darkness. He was dressed in denim trousers and cotton shirt, with a silk scarf tied loosely around his neck. Where's his hat? Had he lost it in the dash up the stairs? That wide-brimmed cowboy hat was such a part of him he seemed naked without it. His hair had come loose from its binding, and he shoved it out of his face with a familiar motion. She stood close enough to read the emotion play across his face, a mixture of fear and bewilderment. His breath was labored, and his anxiety tangible as he stopped and looked right at her. Her mouth fell open in surprise and her heart tightened in her chest. Does he see me?
He took a hesitant step toward her. “Nichole?” His voice filled with horror, he whispered her name from another life.
“Yes! Merril, it's me.” Courtney stepped toward the specter.
His head turned. His attention called away from her open arms. “Oh, sweet Jesus.” Merril fell to his knees and reached for something no longer there. “Nicki, please don't go. Stay with me.”
“Merril, I'm here.” Her heart ached for him and for herself, but her plea went unheard.
Sobs shook his wide shoulders.
Her heart clenched to witness his despair. She longed to comfort him, to assure him she was there, but could not. In defeat, she sank to her knees beside the grieving apparition.
“Nicki, don't leave me. Look at me—” His hushed voice, choked and broken.
“I'm right here, my love,” she whispered, but the room grew warm and Merril Shilo faded back into the past. Courtney hung her head in the darkness and fought back tears. One question was answered, at least for now.