The last two Saturdays I've met with fellow scribbler Cossette of Raven's Landing at our fav coffee shop. We perched on straight-backed wooden chairs with our laptops back to back on the tiny cafe table and reviewed the other's current WIPs.
It's enlightening to have someone other than the Hero in your life read your work. Mr Amazing Dude is my muse and well, he manipulates me into plunking my thoughts down on the keyboard without me realizing it. I would be lost without him. But, he's not much of a woman's lit reader because...well, he's a man. He really likes my stuff, but he is a potentially biased source (not that he would admit it). I knew I needed to start sharing my stories with the world at some point and Cossette seemed the likely pick to begin with as she also is a writer.
And what better way to get someone to read your sappy first draft than to offer to read their sappy first draft?
So we met. She, looking oh so like the urban wordsmith in her boots and scarf, and I, comfortable in my jeans and plaid, betrayed my mid-western roots. Armed with our lattes (hers a carmel I think and mine a green tea) we quickly engrossed ourselves in the WIPs.
I quickly learned two things. Writerly groups are fun and painful. Fun because you're showing off your baby to someone who likely understands where you're coming from. Painful because sometimes they don't get it or sometimes you're just wrong.
It hurts when someone murders your favorite sentence.
But better are the wounds of a friend than the kisses of an enemy.
(Just to clarify, I am NOT equating Editors with Enemies. Really. But you get my point: it's easier to take criticism from someone you know likes you and supports your work than a stranger. Still hurts, but easier to incorporate into the larger picture. Note to self: probably not a good idea to borrow from Proverbs when publication is on the line).
Cossette was honest, but generally kind. I think she had fun too. I certainly enjoyed reading the medieval fantasy world she's crafting, even though I'm not a huge fantasy fan. I hope she takes it far because it's a really good epic story that lures the reader in bit by bit.
So thanks, Cossette for letting me lean on you. Here's to many more writerly sessions in the future!