Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Writing Buddy. If you don't have one, get one!

Whenever I think about the issue of getting or having a writing buddy, I hear this in my head:

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Tom Hanks Sound Clips

Toy Story Sound Clips

No, I had no idea why I kept hearing it while I was thinking about writing this post. Maybe it was because I've seen the film countless times thanks to my children's ability to watch Toy Story on a seemingly endless loop until surrounding adults know the entire script. Maybe it was because us English folk don't usually use the word buddy and my mind had linked the two. Maybe there's something slightly wrong with me, or maybe I just agree with Woody's sentiment.

In April it was a year since I first started writing. This month it's a year since I joined my first online writing community http://www.writersbeat.com
They were the first people to have to think of something tactful to say about my writing.

One of the first crits I did was on Chapter 1 of Red Lorry's novel 'Soul Reunion'. My tentative post was shot down with this comment:

Doesn't anybody read the previous comments??

Being new to the site, and the well-mannered and lovely person that I am, I responded with what little dignity I had left to muster.

Yes, I do. I could have said that I agreed with the other posters. I chose instead to make my point by highlighting the parts I thought were telling rather than showing in blue.

(Ok, so maybe I was a little snippy.)

How is that helpful? came back as reply. I had obviously mortally offended one of the other people critting on my newly found writer's site. What to do? Get on my British high horse, that's what.

If it isn't helpful to Red Lorry, she is welcome, as is anybody else here, to politely ignore my offerings.

Not to be deterred, my new enemy thought that they would expand further on just how and why I was so misguided.

I guess I just found it annoying after spending 45 min of my precious free time carefully going through it just to have it repeated. Sorry, I don't mean to argue, guess I'm feeling snarky today! Cheers.

The stiff upper lip came out, and I graciously decided that the opposition had capitulated.

No problem, apology accepted.

After that she started critiquing what I posted. Everytime I put something up, she'd go through it, always offering advice that made sense to me, and always encouraging my efforts. When I suggested that we swap and critique each others novels, she agreed (actually, I think I might have used the word 'super' and she might have said 'you Brits crack me up'.)

Within a few weeks I'd joined http://www.scribophile.com and persuaded her to come with me. We'd critiqued every word, line and comma of each other's first novels and we were messaging each other every day.

She read more versions of my first query than can reasonably be expected of any human being, and even professed to enjoy it. We hashed out ideas for our respective second novels and we're now in the process of writing them. She reads every chapter I write before I post it on Scrib (Yes I'm sure I have a degree in English, no I have no idea how those commas got where they were, they must be conspiring against me.)

In short, I can't function as a writer without her.

Those on Writer's Beat know her as EmmChris. If you're on Scrib, you'll probably know her as Ramona. I'm told she has a real name, but I don't use it. She's my writing buddy, and the reason that I'm telling you: If you don't have one, get one!


  1. What? You mean I'm not your writing buddy? ;)

    I don't know if I have a writing buddy, now that I think of it. I suppose it would be Mark, considering I go to him with story concerns and he generally gets what I'm trying to do more than most.

    Nice posting

  2. Thanks m'dear. I'm a firm believer that everybody needs Scrib as well :D A balanced view is a huge benefit, and I love our circle.

    But like you say, someone who gets what you're trying to say, and more importantly, can tell you when you're not saying what you want to say, is invaluable :)

  3. Haha, I sound like a massive bitch in that story! Way to out me, Casper!!! Love you anyway though :D

  4. P.s-I'm 'Super' glad you find me as helpful and I find you. I would never have guessed during our little confrontation that you'd turn out to be my across the pond Internet bestie :)

  5. He he :) I've been thinking about writing that post for a couple of weeks. Just had to wait until our 'anniversary' :D Rebecca's blog contest started me thinking about it and I couldn't resist pulling up the thread on WB. It was fun to read through the posts.

    Not quite as much fun to encounter my horrible writing :P

  6. I know I'm new to Writer's Beat, but I don't know EmmChris. Such a shame, she sounds fiery.
    Either way great post. Yay WB!

  7. I think I must have been extra annoying that day because she's super-lovely at all times :D


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