As regular blog readers know, I just recently signed my first book contract with HarperCollins Publishers! I have a few people I need to thank for getting me there:
My writing group: Anna, Carra, Jaidyn, Addie, Rachel L, and Rachel R. These ladies amaze me with their talent for writing and critiquing.
My beta readers: Melody, Brienna, Mary, Elyse, Stacey, Ashley, Cindy*, and Kristin L**, Megs, Tracy, Kristin R.
My cheerleaders: Des, Eir, and so many others.
* Cindy was also my go-to girl for basically every deep conversation I need to have regarding my characters, their actions, and their struggles.
** I credit Kristin with saving Truest twice. She was the one who spotted the plot’s earliest flaws and helped me to fix them. She also helped me figure out the conclusion when I was too deep in the story’s darkness to see any light.
Ben Barnhart helped me with both high-level, conceptual edits as well as line edits. His suggestions added depth, nuance, and conflict to my story, and I’m terribly grateful.
The Big Sur Writing Workshop was an amazing experience where I read and revised Truest as well as interacted with authors, editors, and literary agents all in the children’s and YA literature industry. I absolutely recommend it to serious YA authors who have a late-stage manuscript they’d like additional help with.
Steven Chudney, my agent, challenged me with some of the hardest revisions I have ever undertaken– and I was delighted with the results.
And now, Jill and Laurel from Katherine Tegen Books are taking me to the next level!
As you can see, I am the author, but I don’t work alone. Iron truly sharpens iron, and if people end up enjoying Truest, it will be because of so many men and women who would never let me settle with mediocrity.
This, friends– this is why it shocks me when I hear young writers say that they either a) don’t feel comfortable showing other people their work or b) that they don’t think they can learn to be a better writer. If you want to be a writer, you have to write. If you want to be a great writer, you need help.
Or at least I do. 🙂