Friday, February 5, 2010
Becky Levine's Excellent Launch Party
The next best thing to your own launch party is your critique partner’s launch party.
I got very very lucky when I decided to write a novel. I met Becky Levine at a local California Writer’s Club meeting. We got to talking and realized we were both writing books with quilters in them. I offered up my quilting expertise and we met to talk about it. I thought I was there to offer my suggestions on using a rotary cutter as a murder weapon. Becky had a different plan —to form a critique group. I knew nothing about such groups. The last book I’d written, alone, in my room, without any feedback. (Need I tell you it was never published?).
I told Becky I’d read her book. I loved mysteries. I knew what I liked. She said she would only do that if I brought some pages along of my book. I demurred, she insisted. She said that I wouldn’t be able to read her book unless she read mine.
There was only one problem. I had not written a word of my book. Not one word. Oh sure, I’d thought about it. Constantly. Incessantly. But I hadn’t written anything. And here’s a big clue about becoming a published author—you must write stuff down.
So I went home and wrote 20 pages before our next meeting. And Becky critiqued those. And the next twenty. And so on and so on. Until now I have multiple books out and she has written the defining book on critique groups.
Watching her at the podium reading from The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide was a thrill. Like the best birthday party you’ve been to (the cupcakes were amazing). Like watching your favorite niece give her valedictory address at high school, no med school, graduation. Like being at a wedding for a happy, happy couple that you just know are going to stay together forever.
Just pure joy. Anyone knows who has been a part of a collaboration how a victory for one is a victory for all.
Plus, I’m so glad the rest of the world can benefit from Becky’s wisdom when it comes to critique groups. She knows how to run one, be in one, receive and give critiques from. And she shares it all in this book. You can be lucky, too.