Monthly Archives: June 2009

Fiction Friday>> Nine Lives

[Fiction] Friday Challenge for June 5th, 2009:

“Don’t sit there,” she commanded. “That’s the cat’s chair.”

“Let’s talk about this,” I said. “We’ll sit down, reason it out.” I backed slowly toward the living room, my eyes glued to hers, my hands away from my body to show I didn’t mean any harm. I could see her entire body trembling, in fear or anger I wasn’t sure. She’d bitten her lower lip so hard it was bleeding.

She followed me, the gun in her hand wobbling so hard there was no way could she shoot straight. I saw that as my only chance. In the living room, I made to sit down.

“Don’t sit there, she commanded, her voice tremulous. “That’s the cat’s chair.” She gestured at the fireplace with the gun. “Go stand there.”

I obeyed, still keeping my eyes on her. Something crinkled under my feet. I looked down. A large plastic sheet -industrial grade-lay on the floor. My head rose to her face so fast I nearly got whiplash.

Her eyes were clear, she had a slight smile on her face. Her hand was steady as she pointed the gun at my chest. “Vulnerability is such a nifty tool,” she murmured.

Oh, shit, I thought, just before she pulled the trigger.

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On critique partners

I was reading Write Anything Andrea Allison’s post about Beta Readers (the first person who reads your draft to seriously critique it) and it got me thinking about how lucky I am.

One of the most important criterion for a critiquer is trust. I’ve dropped from writing groups before because I didn’t trust the people who were critiquing my work. Let’s face it, as Annie Lamott funnily says, writers are basically envious of each other’s successes. Some are just meaner about it than others.

I have three readers I completely and utterly trust. They’re painfully honest and sometimes I want to tell them “you’re not my friend anymore” (that’s usually when they’re right; I hate that). The beauty of it? They are avid readers and much better writers than I am but they have decided not to put themselves through the publishing ringer. They leave that to me.

This means that I get the benefit of their great talent, abilities, insight, and honesty without the competition.

I have no idea why they still go through my manuscripts. We started out taking writing classes together and critiquing was part of the process. Fifteen years later, although I’m the only one who was fool enough to keep at it, they are still watching my back.  I find myself blessed.

So Peggy, Robyn, Jim (you know who you are), thanks. Again.

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