Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Insecure Writers' Support Group - September

It's the beginning of September so it's time for the Insecure Writers' Group!

This month's question really has me scratching my head.  

If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?

I've been pondering this ever since I first read it.  Do I choose one of my favorite authors, assuming that they'd be interested in reading my stuff as much as I enjoy reading theirs?  Do I pick someone who is good at the things I feel like I'm not so great at in my own writing?  Do I choose someone whose stories are like mine, or someone whose writing style floors me each time I read it?

Several authors passed through my head.  S E Hinton because it was reading her books that inspired me to write my own.  Donna Tartt because her books are both perfectly plotted and gorgeous to read.  Janet Fitch because her descriptions always give me chills and she manages to always tell compelling stories as well as writing beautifully.  Cormac McCarthy because his writing is so distinctive it almost becomes another character.

And the list goes on.  Markus Zusack because he wrote the book I've enjoyed most in the last couple of years. Stephen King for always writing something page-turning.  Mary Lawson for writing quiet books about ordinary people in a way that makes ordinary lives extraordinary.  Russell Banks for writing some of the books I've enjoyed the most over the years.  Sam Shepard for writing the kind of bold, muscular prose I wish I was capable of writing.

The list goes on and on. There are so many writers I've read and admired.  So many writers I'd love to have read my work and give me advice on how to improve it.  Too many to pick just one.  And I've been lucky as a writer too, in that I've had some pretty damn fantastic readers to work with.

In fact, to be honest, the beta reader I'd like to work with the most is my old partner in crime, Lexa Cain.  She was always my biggest champion and my harshest critic and has probably had the biggest influence on my writing of anyone.  We never met in person, and I don't know what has become of her, but she was suffering  health issues when I last heard from her, so I suspect the worst.

I miss her and I miss reading her stories.  I miss her pushing me to dive deeper into my stories and characters, her plotting advice.

 I miss her.