Who are your allies? Does it matter if you have any?
On June ninth, Randy Ingermanson posted about allies on his blog, and it got me to thinking about the people in my writing life who fulfill this role.
What are Allies? Randy sez: Allies are your writing buddies. They are your equals or near-equals. They are the people who understand you better than anybody except your closest family members. (And they understand some things about you better than even your closest family members.)
So, not everyone we hang out with as writers are our allies, according to Randy’s definition. There’s lots of room left for good friends, acquaintances, for those we mentor, and those who mentor us.
With that in mind, I’d like to give a shout-out to four people I consider my closest allies. These are the people whom I know have my back. When I get a detailed, harsh critique, I know it’s not sour grapes but a deep intent to make my story better, to help me reach my goals. I do the same for them. That’s worth a lot. Too bad the vacations I’ve ‘given’ them below are virtual!
There are a number of others who brainstorm and commiserate with me, who pray for me, who poke me with a sharp stick when I need to get going, who CARE about me. Please know that I’m thankful to you all. 🙂
Margaret Fisk has been a close friend since 2003, shortly after I ventured into learning how to write. We met at Forward Motion for Writers and we’ve learned together, shared moderating and teaching duties, critiques, and many kicks in the rear as required. Even though we live far apart, even as the crow flies, we’ve met in person on three occasions and come to appreciate each other very much.
A vacation in a tree house resort for Margaret! She’s a talented author of mainstream speculative fiction and contemporary romance, and has sold several speculative short stories to prestigious magazines. I’m hoping she gets her big break soon!
I’ve known Maripat Sluyter almost as long as Margaret, also from Forward Motion, where she’s a fellow moderator. I’m thankful that I was able to visit her for a few days before my first ACFW conference and that she guided me through developing a new synopsis for the novel I was pitching, being as I’d just figured out the story, as written, had major problems. Thanks to her, I received a request for a full manuscript. It’s not her fault the novel didn’t live up to its synopsis and wasn’t contracted!
A castle vacation for Maripat, one with old cemeteries to wander in! I love her for a quirky sense of humor, valuable critiques, and unfailing friendship. She’s a talented author of mainstream urban fantasy for young adults. She’s got an awesome voice and I can’t wait to hear about contracts headed her way.
Nicole O’Dell and I landed in the same ACFW crit group in the summer of 2009. We bonded like two burrs on first contact, and haven’t looked back. I value Nicole for always having time for me, for her quick, thorough critiques, her willingness to brainstorm, and–last but not least–for seeing potential in me. Without her hard work in putting an anthology proposal together, I wouldn’t have ‘broken in’ with a novella contract from Barbour.
A beach resort vacation (with a chef and a nanny) goes to Nicole! She’s the author of a series of six published Christian novels for tween girls, Scenarios for Girls, six more contracted YA novels, and several contracted nonfiction books for teens and parents. She’s also the mother of six, including triplets who are nearly three years old. Now you know why I value her TIME!
Also in my camp, my newest ally, Stacy Monson. I’ve known her peripherally around ACFW for the last year or so, but we’ve really connected in the past few months as we’re both clients of Joyce Hart at Hartline Literary Agency I appreciate Stacy for her sense of humor, for brainstorming, and lots of discussions on GMC (goals, motivation, conflict). I’m loving having a friend whose stage of the journey is so similar to mine in many ways.
A log cabin at Lake Tahoe goes to Stacy! She’s the author of several contemporary romance novels set in Minnesota–land of many lakes, none of them surrounded by mountains. One of these days she’s going to get The Call that one of her novels has been picked up. I can’t wait!
Who are your allies? Give a shout-out to those who walk the path with you, sometimes pushing, sometimes pulling, but close to your stage!