Don’t Cha Wish Your Critique Group Was Odd Like Mine?

High angle view of two businesswomen with two businessmen in a conference room


Don’t have a critique partner? Wondering about the wisdom of acquiring one or two? Then this post’s for you. It’s an example of how a committed CP relationship can push a writer into taking risks beyond their works-in-progress.*


Me, bouncing on my toes as we arrive at the coffee shop: OMG, OMG, didyouguysseewhocommentedonmyblogtoday?

Loki: *gives me squishy hug* I know! I know! Laura Kinsale!

Me, with a knowledgeable air: Laura Freaking Kinsale. That’s her nickname, you know.

Dawn: That’s fabulous. How’d that happen anyway?

Me: No clue. She just showed up. But that’s not even the best part… *big smile* She’s going to let me interview her. About her first book in five years. *throws arms wide* The day after it hits the bookstores.

Loki: *gasps* No way!

Me: Way.

*Loki and I jump up and down and squeal*

Dawn, eyeing us from the comfort of her chair: I didn’t know you did interviews.

Me, grinning as I sit: I do now.

Loki: You must be so excited.

Dawn, frowning: So that wasn’t part of your plan? *at my blank look* Doing author interviews wasn’t part of your blog master plan?   

Me:  What is this “plan” of which you speak? *Loki and I laugh*

Dawn: Let me get this straight: You had no intention of interviewing anyone – ever – then Laura Kinsale posts one comment—

Loki: Laura Freaking Kinsale.

Dawn:  – and you hit her up for an interview?

Me, nodding:  Pretty much. *seeing Dawn’s eyebrows knit* Well if it’ll make you feel any better, I did grovel.

Loki, nodding:   That would work. You have an excellent grovel.

Dawn to Loki: You’ve seen her grovel?

Loki, with an airy hand gesture: All the time.

Dawn, looking back and forth between us: When does she grovel?

Loki, sighing:  Oh…last week, when she wanted me to critique that contest entry for Nathan Bransford—

Dawn to me: You entered a contest without telling me?

Me to Loki: Don’t forget the time I wanted more of your pomegranate wine, and you were on your last bottle… *both laugh*

Dawn to Loki: You make pomegranate wine?

Loki and I: …

Loki, turning back to me and patting my hand: Anyway, so what are you going to ask in the interview?

Me to Loki: Guess I better think about it, huh? *ignores Dawn’s snort* Probably stuff about her new book…writing…why she wears hats in all her publicity photos.

Loki, in approving tones: I like the hat idea. It’s a good ice breaker.

Dawn, horrified looks at us both: You can’t ask her that?

Loki and I: Why not?

Dawn: She’s a New York Times bestselling author.

Loki and I: …

Dawn: She’ll expect professional questions.

Loki and I: …

Dawn: What if she’s bald?

Me, sinking down into a chair: Frak, you’re right.  *buries my face in my hands* I’m going to blow this. *Loki commences soothing back pats* I have no plan, no experience, and I get silly when I’m intimidated. Oh, why did I hit up the Queen of Romance for my first interview? Why?

Loki, in a bracing voice: It’ll be fine.

Me, throwing myself back in my chair: I’m doomed.

Dawn after clearing throat, in significant voice: Not necessarily. *I look up* What if you were to practice on someone else, get over being nervous.

Loki: That could work.

Me, straightening: That could definitely work. You have someone in mind?

Dawn: Uh-huh, ‘cause unlike some people, I have a plan.

Me: Who is she?

Dawn, in her cautioning voice: She’s a little lower down on the writing food chain than you might be thinking—

Me: That could be good. She’d be gentle on me if I screw up.

Dawn: She’s a fabulous writer—

Loki, clapping her hands: Even better.

Me: But would she speak to me?

Dawn: I’m certain of it. Look, she’s landed a kick-ass agent and is out on sub. It’s only a matter of time before she’s thrust in the limelight and she wants to prepare for it.  *shrugs*And I happen to know she cares for you. Win-win, right?

Me, with mounting enthusiasm: You, ma’am, are a genius. *uses a trigger finger gesture* I even know who you’re talking about.

Dawn, with a slow smile : I thought you might.

Me: She’s smart, right? Funny, loyal to a fault…

Dawn, her face softening:  I think so.

Me: In fact, if I asked her to, and if it would help my writing career, she’d probably walk over hot coals to help me.

Dawn, blushing and straightening her blazer: Yes…yes, I’m quite sure she would.

Me: Then you approve?

Dawn with a decisive nod: One hundred percent.

Me: I should go for it?

Dawn: Absolutely.

Me: Excellent! I’ll e-mail Amy Bai tomorrow.


*This post is dedicated to my real, fabulous CP’s who granted permission for me to thrust them into unfamiliar roles, lampoon them, and even change their names, all for the sake of a blog post. (For your reading comfort, Donna consented to use her alter-ego’s name, Loki, rather than give you two D-names to sort through.)

About the only truthful part of the above story is the following: The gracious Amy Bai’s interview will follow on January 20th, and the NYT’s best-selling Laura Kinsale’s on January 27th. 😉

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17 thoughts on “Don’t Cha Wish Your Critique Group Was Odd Like Mine?

  1. I admit I only read just long enough to hear about the interview and then SHOT down to the bottom to see if it was a joke/real.

    EEEE! I will SO be back to read the interviews!

  2. Congrats! Nice coup for the blog! (bet you manage a ton of new readers, which is always a perk) And I happened to be extremely amused by the CP banter. Mine tends to throw around wobbly sausages and the like, but I can feel the same camaraderie.

  3. Uninvoked, no offence taken!

    Amy, *head desk* I can only attribute my careless adjective-use to nerves; our interview is not finished, and we have a schedule to meet, standards to uphold. 😉

    Kristen, I assure you I don’t work for the Florida Orange Grower’s Association.

    Hart, the new readers would be nice, but my biggest concern is doing right by Ms. Kinsale. Let’s face it – she’s doing a newbie a huge favor.

    Sue, thank you, ma’am! 🙂

  4. Hope – this is brilliant. Thank you for taking the risk, it definitely paid off. I am truly looking forward to both interviews – Amy Bai and Laura Freaking Kinsale. You continue to inspire me. xoxo

  5. Dawn, give yourself a back pat; you helped make this post possible. xoxo

    Becke, you always speak of the neatest sounding drinks. If you go to Nationals this year — I’m hoping to myself — you’ll have to expose me to one. Or more.

  6. Hee-hee. I assure you Hope,and your readers that the “Loki” in me really was jumping up and down and squealing like a preppy adolescent. Your post was fun, and I look forward to reading the interviews. 🙂

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