Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Kitchen Table Kiddie Lit Critters

"Where did the time go?"

That's what we said this morning after we— Claudia, Amy T, and Debi, and I had gathered around Claudia's kitchen table, sipped coffee, nibbled coffee cake, and nit-picked for over two hours.

Since last May, I've been involved in this nameless kid lit crit group. We've been lit critters, kiddie litter critters, etc. All of us but Claudia were originally involved with a rather unfocused writers group that sort of fizzled out or imploded or something. I later met Claudia at Lake Writers. So, none of us are strangers to writers groups.

We are a diverse group: two yankees and two southerners. The four of us span four generations. Amy is the youngest; I'm the oldest. Our writing is different—Amy and I write novels, but hers are historical and mine are paranormal. Claudia currently writes poetry. Debi writes literary fiction. But all four of us love horses and we love good writing. And we want to make our writing the best it can be.

For a while, we met at the library, but eventually we met around my kitchen table. Now, while Claudia's elderly mother visits, it's easier to meet at Claudia's after Amy and Debi have gotten their kids off to school.

Anyhow, today we had something to celebrate: Amy finished her middle-grade historical novel. She'll pitch the idea at the SCBWI conference in a couple of weeks. Plus she's using her work on the novel and her trip to the conference for J-term credit at Hollins.

We'd waited for weeks to hear her ending. Today, we heard the last three chapters. This book is super! (You heard it here first.)

We also heard Debi read a YA story. She'd said that she wrote literary fiction; now we believe it. Her story was incredibly rich in detail, and her teen-age narrator had a strong and distinctive voice. This story will be a contest winner.

Most of our nit-picking involved diction. Would this word or phrase work better? Or would that? We didn't have to mess with story lines or character development in either work. Both were strong.

I returned home pumped. If you'll pardon the cliché, my creative juices were flowing.

That usually happens after every crit group meeting.



Blogger CountryDew said...

Yay for a good meeting! I'm glad for you. And a little envious; I've never been able to make that happen anywhere close to home.

12:24 PM  

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