Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The right words...

Sure, my mom thinks I’m a great writer. So do the Playfriends (or at least that’s what they tell me). DG and AC fill the stands in my cheering section as well. But these are people who love me. They have to say the nice things (or else deal with the horrible depression and witchiness that follows.)

But second only to my editor, there’s one person whose opinion really makes me think. That’s my Fabu CP. Sure, we’re friends now and I love her like my luggage, but that’s not how our relationship started. It was a business relationship –one built around saying not nice things to each other when the situation called for it. She had my respect long before she had my love.

My CP has to read through some rough stuff. She’s the first set of eyes on everything I write. If it’s wrong, it’s her job to tell me. If I go too far – or not far enough – she has to be the one to redirect me. She read at least four complete drafts of The Secret Mistress Arrangement before it sold – that’s commitment to the cause. She’s had a hand in the plot of every book I’ve written (and been the reason at least one has been archived on the hard drive because she finally had to tell me that it just wasn’t working at all. That takes guts and a long view of the situation as a whole.). Trust me, I’m a much better writer thanks to her guidance over the years. I owe her a lot.

So I trust her, but more importantly, I respect her. I’m often awed by her – and not just her incisive critting skills, either. She’s an amazing writer who often leaves me gaping at the way she strings words together. For the record, Pamela Hearon ROCKS.

I’ve been struggling with the current WIP. It’s been hard to find my groove with this one. And Pam’s been handholding me through it, dog love her. But in her notes from the most recent chapter she critted was exactly the thing my ego needed to hear, even if she didn’t know it at the time.

I remember writing the paragraph her comment referenced. It was getting close to time for AC to come home, so I was winding down my writing for the day. I like to end in the middle of something or on a strong note so I’ll have something cooking until I can get back to it. This paragraph was that stopping point. And I was kinda pleased with the image and the wording.

And when it came back from Pam, she’d written in red next to it “Man, I wish I’d written that.

That got my attention. Yeah, it’s great when someone points out a nice phrase or some clever wording, but to have another writer – a writer you respect – wish they’d written it? Wow. That’s pretty damn cool. That’s high praise. That made my whole day. Made me think I’d finally gotten a hold of these characters, and that we all might get a happy ending after all. Made me feel the hair-pulling and teeth-gnashing might have been worth it. Six words, probably just off the cuff to let me know the image worked, made me feel like Nora Freakin’ Roberts.

And that my friends, is why good CPs are worth their weight in gold. Not only because they can tell you what’s going wrong, they let you know when it’s going right.

What’s the best compliment you’ve gotten recently?



Angel said...

Um, I think we all know what my biggest compliment was lately... can I say it again? Golden Heart Finalist!!!! :) There, I think that is out of my system for at least another hour or so.

CPs are so great. Right now, several of the Playfriends crit for me and my sister has just started reading my stuff to give me a readers perspective. It really does tighten the work to have someone look at it who isn't as close to the forest as we are.


Lynn Raye Harris said...

Wow, Angel, you're a Golden Heart finalist? *gg* (The joy never goes away! Keep on saying it!)

Um, compliment. Compliment. Hmm, none come to mind lately. My husband tells me I'm hot, but I think he has to say that. It's in the rule book somewhere, so doesn't count.

My editor is calling this morning, so maybe she'll have one for me. :) Dang, I am fresh out of compliments!

Darling Geek said...

I'm kind of hoping I had your respect before your love too... but I guess it all worked out in the end regardless.

Playground Monitor said...

I think we know mine too -- request for a full from Special Edition!

I don't have a CP but my sister has been reading my book. She reads a LOT across several genres and has a good grasp of grammar and what works in a story and what doesn't.

Golden Heart finalist? Wow, Angel. I didn't know. ;-)

Smarty Pants said...

I think the best compliment I've gotten lately was at work. I changed departments this year and a guy I used to support confided in me that things have been a mess since I left and he was furious things went down the way they did.

(Basically, they hired some inexperienced but cheaper temps to replace me without informing my department or the people I supported, so I got another position elsewhere.)

They're paying for the inexperience now. I told him I had to get a little joy out of that. :)

Instigator said...

We all know my best compliment lately...4 1/2 stars :-)

My CPs are fantastic! I've had several over the years who've each given me things and experiences that helped me grow. But the Playfriends (and Angel in particular) have been with me no matter what. I owe them a whole hell of a lot!


Problem Child said...

DG, didn't you know I only wanted you for your body at first?

Caroline said...

Hi. The best compliment I ever had was from the annon. "reader" who reviewed my ms for the New Writers Scheme (Romantic Novelists Association) that we have here in the uk. It was my first effort at a full length book and she wrote some lovely things about my story as well as giving me lots of advice. But her words "...the superb romance writer you will be one day..." has stuck with me ever since. Caroline x