#2: I missed meeting with them. So. Much. We haven't gotten together for almost two months! And I knew I missed them before tonight, but after we got together and started critiquing and such....I realized just how much I missed those chickadees.
#3: I realized I am a better writer when we get together regularly. And not just because they're critiquing my chapters and telling me what stinks and what rocks (Alright...they don't really say anything stinks. Although they could!) but because I'm reading their words and when I see where they can improve and what they are doing so well....I can better see my own flaws and strengths. Not to mention the fact that I'm pretty sure The Pastry Pub's food is fuel for my right brain. Seriously if you're ever in Cedar City....you have got to have their Asian salad or their roast beef sandwich on a cheese bagel with honey mustard sauce. Or their Caramel Tiger Cake (although I'm currently boycotting it. Don't ask. It's a sensitive subject. I'm thinking there might just be some kind of protest. Maybe a sit in.....yeah. That's the ticket.) Divine!
#4: I still can't tell the difference between my good writing and my stinky writing. Yep, once again I was sure I had sent them a cruddy chapter. And actually, I accidentally sent them not only one chapter but two! I meant to send just the one I'd revised and not the additional one I hadn't gotten a chance to shine up. But lo and behold! They had great things to say about them. Great and encouraging words! (Although they did see how the second chapter might need a bit of smoothing out.... heh)
#5: Beware of talking heads. We had a bit of trouble with that tonight with some of our manuscripts. But isn't that a hard issue? I rack my head trying to think of different things for my characters to do while they're talking...fold their arms, stomp their feet, raise an eyebrow, pace the floor, sink into their chair, have thumb wars, bite their toenails, floss their teeth, give a saucy wink, pick their nose....yes, yes...all good options. But I'm running out of good ideas....
#6: Apparently some of my thmacksnicket sentences don't frotenmoo make any sense whatsoever pickletipple top. Where did they get that idea? It's absurdibunt! The nerve...
#7: I finally figured out how to give my MC a sense of wonder instead of him being a whinging loaf of grumpy bread. (Don't you just love the word whinging? Or how about knackered? Yep. Love that British slang.)
#8: It's amazing how quickly you can see a sentence is awkward once someone writes the word awkward next to it in red ink.
#9: A little picture book I wrote a couple years ago has some potential. On a whim, I shared it with my gals (does that sound like we're in a gang? Yeah, we're tough like that. Don't even think of threatening our Caramel Tiger Cake....not that I'm going to eat any. Nope. Nuh-uh *be strong, Erin*) and they liked it. Yes, it has a major flaw, but it's easily fixed. And then I might start sending it out. I'll probably start with an editor who I email stories to every now and then. Nothing has quite clicked yet, but she always lets me know she'd like me to send more. Pretty cool, right? And I've never met her in person. We "met" through the slush. Ahhhh, sweet, right? Although she's rejected...erm....four of my stories so far. This puts a damper on the relationship. But not much. She's super kind and takes the time to tell me how I could improve the stories.
#10: I have the best critique group ever. I can't imagine trying to get better at this craft without them. I know some writers say you need to eventually leave your critique groups and do it on your own. I guess I'm a big wimp. Because I can't imagine ever getting to the point where I wouldn't want trusted friends to help me muddle through this crazy industry, to bounce ideas off of and to be kind to me when I'm feeling like the worst writer in the known and unknown universe. I don't know. I guess when my books are on the NY Times Bestseller list, we'll see. (dreaming feels so good....like candy for the soul....)