A little love for The Writer’s Collective

A few weeks back, I was asked if I’d write a testimonial for my experience in The Writer’s Collective, formally known as The Fictionista Workshop. The Collective is a fabulous resource on so many levels. It was hard to find words so summarize my experience as an author in one of their workshops, but I gave it a shot. 😉

Putting your words out there for someone else to critique can be a nerve-wracking experience. But handing over your manuscript to a team of strangers with the understanding that they’re probably going to pull it apart word by word? That can be completely terrifying.

Or it can be the absolute best experience of your life.

I began my workshop with the Writer’s Collective with a this-close-to-being-finished-manuscript. I’d spent nine months working on it. The characters were strong, the plot had a solid arc, and I was pretty happy with how it had turned out. Three weeks into my workshop, however, I was rewriting the whole thing, translating it from first person into third, the arc rearranged and the entire third and fourth chapters completely changed. Sounds awful, doesn’t it? Except it wasn’t.

The participants in my workshop weren’t my friends. They weren’t afraid of hurting my feelings, or worried that telling me to I needed to fix something would damage our relationship. They were there for the story, and every critique, every suggestion, every cut word or rewritten segment made my work stronger. While some changes were hard to digest, some even prompting heated discussions where we discussed the characters’ motivations and decisions, the six women who spent almost a year helping me refine, rework, and rewrite my manuscript into something I loved are now some of my favorite people in the world.

The process isn’t easy, but I am a better writer because of it. Since my workshop ended, I pitched my manuscript at the Romance Writers of America’s National conference, getting a full request from a publisher and a partial from an agent. In addition, a separate novella, which all the participants in my workshop read and critiqued as well, will be published by Samhain in January 2015.

I highly recommend the workshop experience with the Writer’s Collective. I have no doubt that without the brilliant feedback of the participants in my group, I would not be where I am today.


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