My writers group had numerous things to celebrate at our annual holiday party in addition to the season. Not only did we survive another challenging year of critiquing each other’s work, but several members had, or soon will have their books published. The subject matter includes children’s stories, historical fiction, and a graphic novel based on a cult TV show, along with paranormal and sci-fi Young Adult novels.
Kym Brunner, who has two YA novels coming out in 2014, came up with a literary trivia game for our party. It involved trying to guess the title and author of a book, based on a puzzle piece from its front cover. Along with famous authors like Mario Puzo, Joseph Heller, and Dr. Seuss, Brunner used works by our group members, like Cherie Colyer’s Hold Tight; Marian Manseau Cheatham’s Merely Dee; Susan Kaye Quinn’s Open Minds, Terri Murphy’s One Day I Went Rambling; and her own Wanted: Dead Or In Love. I’m hoping that’s a good omen.
I suspect more of our members, particularly Veronica Rundell and Katie Sparks, will be joining the ranks of published authors soon. Mike Kelly, who wrote the copy for the graphic novel KOLCHAK: The Night Stalker and Dr. Moreau, and has self-published two graphic novels based on his Barker The Beagleman super sleuth, is now working on a full-length sci-fi novel. I should be ready to shop my rock and roll novel to literary agents and publishers soon, and I have two Middle Grade fantasy novels to hawk as well.
I have benefited quite a bit from being in this group, and feel I’ve given my share of helpful tips. It’s a group where people won’t hesitate to say an entire chapter needs to be cut, or that your big finale was a disappointment. That can be hard to take, but these guys are just as likely to suggest an option that becomes an essential chunk of your narrative. And members have to feel comfortable in the realm of fairies, witches, old-time gangsters, love-struck teenagers, and in the case of Merely Dee, heartbreaking tragedy. The Night Stalker and Dr. Moreau was a blast to critique.
We’ve already held one Stand-up Literary Event, and organizers Brunner, Colyer, and Sparks are considering more. I’ll be sure to post here when the next event comes along. Or when another member of our group gets a book published.