Welcome to… THE GUILD

Welp, I feel like I’ve crossed some kind of line this last week. I’m one step further along in my transformation from little Miss Jilly Bean to J.N. Marcotte. Not only have I joined a real live writer’s group, I’ve also now signed up for my first writer’s conference. And I’m stoked.

I have a critique partner, who is absolutely amazing, but I’ve never been in a writer’s group before. Unless we count a creative writing class I took in high school. (But let’s be honest here: my teacher was awesome, but the other students were just ridiculous. Seriously, who signs up for a class called Creative Writing when they neither are creative nor like writing? Answer: half that class. The teacher did what he could to not waste my time, and I absolutely love him to this day, but the whole thing was a bit of a joke.) I haven’t really done anything in this new group, The Alaska Writers Guild, besides sign up and pay my dues, but I look forward to participating in competitions and maybe even critique groups. (Just wish they didn’t meet on Sundays…)

But this all just reminds me of the fact that I don’t really know what to do with other writers. I mean, I’ve gotten a lot better. It used to be that, when I wanted to write, I would literally lock myself in a room with a computer or a notebook and only emerge when I was too tired or hungry to continue. (Not even joking. I hate when my husband reads over my shoulder, so I would lock him out.) Over time, I’ve gotten to where I can write if someone else is in the room (as long as they’re not beside or behind me). And I’ll share writing with others before it’s picture perfect. Twitter has really opened up my world because I can interact with others while I’m writing and it’s okay. Actually, it’s great. I work a lot better when I’ve got someone else wondering exactly how many words I wrote in the last half hour. (Saying I typed 913 words in a half hour is much more impressive than having to admit I wrote 27 in the last forty-five minutes. Those are both actual stats.) So I’ve gotten a lot more interactive in my work. A writing group can’t be TOO different from that… can it?

I’ve even less experience with writer’s conferences. I’ve never been to one in any way, shape, or form. I can’t quite say that I’ve never been to anything like one, because I’m not even really sure what they’re like. Maybe I have been, who knows? (Do you know? Please tell me if you do. I’ll blow adoring kisses in your general direction.) I just know that they’re things writers go to. I understand it’s mostly for networking purposes, but also to learn things in workshops. It’s all very esoteric. I’ve been told if I want to know the secrets, I must attend. So… I’m attending. In September. And I’m thrilled.

One of the little perks is that some writing guru is going to read through my query and the first fourteen pages of my manuscript, and then tell me everything that’s wrong with them. Well, maybe not everything, we only have twenty minutes, but I think this will be good for me. I’m taking deep breaths and telling myself it’s going to be great.

So, I’ll probably be turning these things in for the critique in the next day or two, but I’ve posted the current form of the query letter and would be delighted to have any feedback on it you may have. Please let me know if you hate it, love it, wish you could have back the one minute it took to read it, etc. (It probably looks pretty familiar to any of you nosing around the City of the Dead page. Sorry to bore you.)

In other news, it is the first day of Camp NaNoWriMo II, so… priorities and all. If you’ll excuse me, I gots a novel to rock out. Peace.

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