Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Good Thing I Have A Keeper

by Mindy McGinnis

As evidenced on RC's blog, I made a trip to New Mexico this past week to talk to the students at the New Mexico School for the Deaf about reading and writing. The kids were amazing, the campus was beautiful, and I enjoyed Albuquerque.

But I'm not here to talk about that.

Instead, I want to tell you how absolutely awesome it was to meet my crit partner. You might expect me to talk about how relieved we both were to find out that we get along as well in person as we do online (and we did), or how cool it was to be able to pitch the infant WIP aloud and get instant feedback (it was), but I'm not going to. The topic here is how critical RC was to my survival for the past five days.

RC picked me up from the airport upon my arrival (helpful), let me crash on her couch (thank God), and took me through the world of the deaf much like Virgil to my Dante... with the exception that the school didn't resemble hell in any way and it was actually much hotter upon my return to Ohio than it was in New Mexico.

The real adventure for me kicked in on Sunday morning when RC took me to the airport, and my flight out was horribly undeserving of being called a "flight" as it never went into the air. Plenty of others did and I watched them take wing from my precarious stand-by status for a solid 8 hours, at the end of which I texted RC and said, "So, it looks like I need your couch again tonight. And also a ride back to your place. And also can you wake up at 4 AM tomorrow and take me to the airport again?"

To which she emphatically said, "Whatever you need."

I was keeping my nervous mother (who refuses to acknowledge the fact that I'm 33 and fully capable) apprised of the situation. When I told her RC was accommodating me in all capacities she said, "You've gotta be thankful for a friend like that!"

And I am. But I was thankful for RC long before she became a cog in my survival wheel.

As a crit partner, RC hits that fine line of praise and criticism that is crucial to a healthy writing partnership. She tells me when I've done well, but she also calls me out on my shit, including my not so wonderful grasp of the purpose of semicolons. Feedback from RC gets a lot of weight in my book. Any and all of my rewrites based upon her suggestions and tempered with my authorial standpoint have met with praise from my beta readers, and my agent as well. So remember readers, treasure your crit partners that treat you well, and cultivate those relationships.

You never know when you may need a ride to the airport.

Or someone to pack your lunch for you.

Mindy McGinnis is a school librarian and author whose debut Not a Drop to Drink is coming Fall 2013 from Katherine Tegen Books. She's also an aficionado of root beer and really excellent hamburgers. When she's not stuck in airports, you can find her at her blog and on Twitter.


Jean Oram said...

Okay, so I have a crazy sense of humour, but... " talk to the students at the New Mexico School for the Deaf..." See anything odd in this little bit. ;) On a more serious note, I'm glad your talk went well and it is absolutely awesome that you got to meet your crit partner in real life. And I also wholeheartedly agree that critique partners are very, very important people--treat them like gold! (They can always see the stuff I can't! I wonder where they get their eyeglass prescription filled.)

Matt Sinclair said...

A friend, indeed!

Jemi Fraser said...

So awesome you got to meet in the real world!!

Crit buddies are definitely gold! Can't imagine where I'd be without them! :)

Mindy McGinnis said...

Absolutely - without RC I'd be unpublished, and without a New Mexico School for the Deaf carry on.

MarcyKate said...

Still jealous you guys got to meet - you must both come to Boston!

Also, RC pretty much just RULES :)

Sophie Perinot said...

Those of us on the east coast need to get together, have lots of fun, and then taunt BBC and RC about it! Yes indeedy. . . .