I’ve always been fascinated by what I call “systems.” I love to ponder how different parts come together with specified tasks to become a whole. Each part is different, and necessary, though none is totally functional on its own. This is why I love the idea of the Body of Christ, and why I named my ministry blog “Living the Body of Christ.”
There is a wonderful system at work in my writer’s life. I call it my “writer’s body.” It is my critique group. And oh, what a system it is.
As you may know, I am writing a novel. To take on such a task it's a good idea to join a critique group. When I first looked into doing this, I prayed a lot! And boy was God generous! Not only did He drop me into two critique groups, but He created a Writer's Body within them.
First Corinthians 12:4-11 tells us we are all given different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit; different kinds of service, but the same Lord. These are to work for the common good. And that's what my "Writer's Body" does. What an amazing group. Not just because they are so skilled as writers, but because God put them together in such a way.
For those of you who don't know what a critique group is, it's a group of writers who look at your work and tell you how to improve it. You send it out to them, after you've poured out your heart and soul on paper, and it comes back looking as though it met a dragon in battle :o). But just as God allows us to go through the Valley of Shadow and Death to stretch and grow us ... so do my critique partners spar with my Work-In-Progress in order to make it better. And that they most certainly do!
My "Writer's Body" is fully equipped with arms, legs, a torso, eyes, ears and all the rest. In writer's terms that means the following: Someone who can spot my telling (when it needs to be showing), my overuse of words, my cliches and my long-winded diatribes that make no sense. Other members will give me examples of how to describe something more fluidly, use commas appropriately, and to tighten up my language.
Oh there is so much more. And my critique partners do this. I send out my WIP and each sends it back with their own set of skills having polished out the smudges. And even though I am sometimes weary at the newly created work on the chapter I thought was done, I know down to the pit of my being, God has been very, very good to me! I am truly blessed by this group and my writing has shown their hard work on my behalf.
Connie is a 2012 Genesis semi-finalist for Women’s Fiction. She was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Winter 2012 WOW Flash Fiction Contest for her entry, Why Not to Kiss on a Park Bench (aka. Harold and Violet). She also writes the What’s Your Story column, interviewing debut fiction authors for the My Book Therapy Ezine. Come visit her on one of her other blogs: