Wednesday, February 15, 2006

And life and work go on

My CP group will be shutting down at the end of the month. Now, I credit this group with being partially responsible for obtaining an agent. I knew very little about novel craft before I joined. If you needed a fluffy nonfiction piece, I'm your girl. But in spite of having had written a YA book six years ago and a chick lit book two years ago, I knew nothing on how to do it. This group generously gave of their knowlege and time and as a result I was the first one to score an agent among these incredibly talented women. Not exactly fair, but the business isn't exactly fair. Who among you has read books riddled in adverbs, clunky dialogue or pages of internalization? Right place, right time, right editor has tons to do with being published or not and all the little rules we writers create to make sense of a business that seems to break all the rules, just fly out the window.

But stuff happens and the crit group will be shutting it's doors. The list owner found herself critting too much of other people's work and not doing her own work. A hazard to be sure. Luckily, I have formed a fabulous partnership with a new CP and I think a couple of surprise CP's and I will also form a small group. I like the idea of small. Having just went through GH madness in which everyone was trying to get entries ready and screaming for crits, I have decided that seven is just too many for one group.

I have been on many lists since I got online eight years ago and I have discovered a few things as I watched lists, both big and small, of women writers fall apart.

  • Women can be warm and wonderful and giving. They can also be vicious.
  • With every step in your career you are going to lose a few people who you thought were friends but really aren't. (I have watched too many women writers deal with this not to believe it)
  • Most lists implode. I was on a list of about 1500 of the most wonderful women I had ever met. We had parties, reunions, give aways, you name it. Then the actions of one person backfired and the whole thing was gone.
  • Bitchiness happens. Women are hormonal. I have snarked and been snarked at. But honestly, though I have been on a number of lists, I have been attacked out of left field only twice but I have seen it happen more times then that. In one of those cases the writer later apologised. Said it really had nothing to do with me, she was lashing out at my client, her former client. I'm still waiting for the other apology.
  • Some women can have disagreements with maturity and grace. Some feel it is a personal afront if you don't have the same opinion.
  • Christian bashing is alive and well on lists, as in, this one Christian did such and such to me, therefore you are all bad.
  • Did I mention how kind and giving women can be on lists? Did I mention how mean they can be?

Later, I may post on how to recover from list implosion or being flamed. Maybe there should be a 12 step recovery program! Snort.


Rachel Vincent said...

This is exactly why I only belong to a couple of e-loops. One is my RWA chapter's loop, where stuff like that would never, ever happen. (We see each other in person too.) And the other is one of my favorite authors'personal fan loop, on which I don't actually post.

I used to belong to an online writers' group, but I haven't been there in months, because people were just too mean.

Bonnie Ferguson said...

It sounds like you have a good plan going forward, Teri :)

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Ah, that sounds so familiar. I met both of my wonderful cp's on an online crit board. Needless to say, none of us post there anymore, but I do credit it for bringing us together. There are positives and negatives to online critting, but I definitely love my small group.

Jana J. Hanson said...

Sorry to hear about your CP group but it sounds like you're moving upward and onward! Good for you!!