Julie Artz | author, editor, book coach, dragon

[Wyrd Words Weekly] - Meet your writerly ride-or-dies!

Published 5 months ago • 3 min read

Hello Reader,

Have you ever received feedback on your writing that crushed your dreams?

It feels awful, doesn't it? When I first started writing novel-length work, there was a now-defunct website where you could post chapters for peer feedback. I was eager to share my work there so I could figure out what was working and what wasn't. I soon met one of the most active members of the writing community, someone whose username on the site promised that he'd be tough.

I suspect you know where this is going. I posted the first chapter of my very first middle grade novel. He panned it, laying out his (fairly thin) evidence that I needed to go back to a 101-level writing course to figure out how to write, and promptly gave it a one star rating without, he admitted with some delight, reading beyond the first paragraph.

The good news is that I was furious instead of devastated. But he had no way of knowing that his snarky response to my work would motivate me. In fact, I rather suspect he hoped to crush my writing dreams.

One of the things that held me back from the brink of despair was a strong tendency toward resisting authority. But the other saving grace was having another writing pal to talk through the grumpy critic's feedback. My pal read the scene, gave me some helpful feedback, and reminded me of what I already knew, which is that all feedback is not good feedback.

I kept writing. And I still love that book (even though it's currently unpublished). Now that I teach writing myself, I'm committed to giving actionable, honest feedback, minus the dream crushing part.

But I also want each of you to have a group of critique partners that you can rely on to help you parse the feedback you get on your writing. Not only do they offer fresh eyes on your story, but they can offer support in a way that keeps the writing journey from being quite so lonely.

And even if you've had a negative critique group experience in the past, I encourage you to give my free critique partner matching service a try. I created CP Meet Cute to provide a framework and a safe space for people to share their work without worrying that they'd get their souls crushed. And there's an easy exit hatch if someone rubs you the wrong way too.

So I'm thrilled to announce registration is now open for Round Seven of CP Meet Cute!

The process is simple. You sign up, I send you a series of emails with the details, including tips for how NOT to give feedback like that grumpy guy and a link to your matchmaker survey. The survey asks you about your genre, age category, and critique group experience, as well as a few logistical details like your timezone.

Then I sprinkle the whole thing with fairy dust and poof--the matches are made! This round's cohorts will be announced on Valentine's Day, because if anyone can beat the metaphorical dead horse, it's yours truly ;)

I can't promise that you'll meet your writerly ride-or-dies, but I will say that this program has brought dozens of writers together over the past couple of years and it's quickly become one of the favorite parts of my offerings for writers.

Writing is a lonely journey, but you don't have to go it alone--sign up for CP Meet Cute today!

What I'm Reading

It's a truth universally acknowledged that I am a sucker for Pride & Prejudice retellings. Well, there's a great new one to add to the shelf next to Pride by Ibi Zoboi and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith: Most Adently by Gabe Cole Novoa.

This gender queer P&P retelling has all the banter you've come to expect from Darcy and his nemesis-turned-love-interest, but with a healthy dose of the unexpected and an interesting historical perspective on what the queer experience might have been like during Austen's time. I'm absolutely devouring it, so if you love P&P, or would like to experience it for the first time through a queer lens, check it out.

Creating Unforgettable Characters

One of my dear subscribers told me I needed to give you all more reminders when I have an upcoming class, so here it is: my next Craft Magic Webinar is February 12. Creating Unforgettable Characters will introduce you to my method for bringing together personality, backstory, and story goal to create the kind of character that will keep you turning pages. I can't guarantee you'll create the next Fitzwilliam Darcy, but I can promise lots of tips, perhaps even some inspired by the man himself.

Hope to see you there!



PS - If you're looking to get your finished manuscript in tip-top shape before your share it with your potential new CPs, check out my pal Libby Copa's free guide 7 ways to declutter your manuscript:

Julie Artz | author, editor, book coach, dragon

Julie Artz helps writers who dream of a life spent telling stories that matter slay their doubt demons so they can send their work out into the world with confidence. An active member of the writing community, she has volunteered for SCBWI, TeenPit, and Pitch Wars and is a member of EFA, the Authors Guild, and AWP. A social and environmental justice minded story geek, Julie lives in an enchanted forest outside of Seattle, Washington, with her husband, two strong-willed teenagers, and a couple of naughty furry familiars. Check out her weekly newsletter, Wyrd Words Weekly, and subscribe today.

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