Monday, June 18, 2012

Divorce – Critique Group Style

by Lupe Fernandez

Almost three years ago I joined a writing group with Teri Fox. There were four of us, but now there is only Teri and I. Teri Fox writes YA. She lives in cool house in the San Fernando Valley. We meet once or twice a month on Saturdays. She always has cookies and or fruit. The house is quiet, no screaming kids or barking dogs or jetliners roaring overhead, her house does not require satellite triangulation to find.

Teri, a former journalist for the Los Angeles Times, is a meticulous editor. My YA story is a better manuscript thanks to her efforts. She devotes the same attention to her own manuscript, scrutinizing each word and fearless in her rewrites.

Adjectives, adverts and clichés: Beware of Teri’s mighty pen. She takes no prisoners, and she’s usually right.

Here’s what Pen & Ink’s own Susan Berger has to day about Teri:
“Teri and I were in the same critique group for three years. In 2009, we lost a member which led us to put up a notice on Critique connection. We received so many replies that we ended up having a large group meeting at Hilde's house. At the end of the meeting Teri chose to go with a the newly forming YA critique group and Channe and I went to a picture book group. I knew I would miss Teri's critiques, this group meeting yielded enough writers to form a YA group and that's where Teri belonged. Hilde said she needed a Tuesday night group and I also joined that group. The four of us became Pen and Ink. I know Teri will be an asset to any group she joins. I really enjoyed working with her.”
With such a great writing partner, what’s with the divorce? The only reason I ever do anything drastic is because of a woman. In July, I’m leaving Los Angeles and moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, the land of my birth. So I will be unable to continue my writing relationship with Teri, hence the divorce. It’s an amiable divorce. Teri gets to keep her house. I get to keep my manuscript. Teri isn’t letting mourning our separation, she always looking to start a new writing group. But don’t take my word for it.

Teri, what did you to at the Los Angeles Times? 
In Los Angeles Times' glory days I produced feature articles on contemporary products and modern architecture. I designed sets, directed photographers and wrote the copy. 'Home Magazine' under Otis Chandler. It paid well. 

What are you look for in a writing critique group?
I want to be critiqued by YA writers who kill cliches in their work and bomb all adverbs. Most commas can die. 

What will other writers benefit from working with you?
Short sentences and chapters require sharp word choices. I help writers express their deepest intentions. 

What are you working on now? 
My YA novel is an historic adventure. Nineteen-year-old Jacob, a New York stage actor, struggles for his lead in D. W. Griffith's first silent western.

How do potential critique mates get in touch with you?
I would like to do an online YA Critique of four members. Reach me at Foxystory@aol.com

Anything else, you’d like to say? 
Thank you Lupe. Keep up your good work! 

I’d like to say, it’s been a pleasure to work with you, and eat your cookies and assorted sliced fruit. I enjoyed washing my hands in the sink full of rocks.
---
No, no. don’t worry about me, gentle reader.
I’ll be fine…sniffle, sniffle.

23 comments:

  1. We'll miss you, Lupe! BTW - There's a great SCBWI community in San Francisco.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Megan. I will be making inquires into the SFO SCBWI community.

      Delete
  2. What about the mistress of your group? The other critique group you visit when you aren't married to your first? That's us.

    OR were we your first? We all met on the same fated night in my living room and my cookies were served that night too. I thought you loved those more than anyone elses? I recall you said, "they can forge mighty rivers" or something poetic like that?

    Do you remember your warnings to us? We must meet. We must commit. We must forget children, airplanes, and PTA meetings and CRITIQUE no matter what. You were so afraid we'd leave you... but aha, the tables are turned.

    Now, we three feel like we have left by the side of the road, all for what, for a very happy LUPE who is moving on to rainbow skies and Angels in his every day... sigh... where is my Lupe of yesteryear who wanted to do nothing but stay in LA and write with us?

    Now, I guess we will doing that Skype writer's blog like everyone else. All I know is that WE original three couldn't be happier for you the LUPE of our group finding those greener pastures.

    We three and our cookies- which will be fed exed periodically, will miss you beyond words, widows that we are now going to be.

    However, we are in denial, so we are not looking for a 4th, just looking to get you technologically advanced enough to make it work for us online.

    Know that we love you. Know that we aren't letting you go, no matter how many new groups knock at your door. You will always have to be true to us.

    May Angel always brighten your day and may you continue to kick ass writing and shaping our work into masterpieces as you have done so far.

    Love,

    Writing wife number????

    Hilde...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I recall you said, 'they can forge mighty rivers' or something poetic like that?"

      I said your cookies "could change the course of mighty rivers."
      Sincerely,
      Toll-House Morsel

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    2. Wow, this is good stuff. Better than a day-time soap, that's for sure. (Not that I'd know.) I need some cookies to go with the rest of these comments.

      Bon voyage, Lupe!! We will miss you! (Wait. Does this mean you won't be blogging at Pen and Ink anymore, either? Can't you telecommute? Or is that what Hilde means by getting you technologically advanced? :) )

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    3. Dearest Rita,
      There will be a post next month discussing the transition of our Mexican-In-Residence. Alas, he'll still be writing for us.
      Sincererly,
      The Management

      Delete
  3. We met regularly though my open heart surgery recovery. You, Lupe, would brook no excuses. We met regularly by phone when I had to leave Los Angeles for three months. Your writing wives have no plans to take our greedy little claws off your critiques. We will confine to expect regular meetings by Skype. And we will miss your corporeal presence terribly and hope you and Angel will visit often.

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  4. Teri Is a very good Critiquer. I had great fun in that group.

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  5. This was nice to read! Thanks ...

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  6. You guys always sound like you have a blast. What a fun group you must all be!

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    Replies
    1. And cookies, too.
      Sincerely,
      Mrs. Fields Secret Admirer

      Delete
  7. The best of luck to you, Lupe. We'll miss you at the Writer's Schmooze, too!

    Have a lovely life,
    Laurie

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Laurie. I'll miss spreading my brand of good cheer at the Westside Schmooze.
      Sincerely,
      Queryless

      Delete
  8. Best of luck in the Bay Area! I've enjoyed your posts here, and wish you luck coming up to technological snuff so I can continue to do so. :-)
    Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our Soon-To-Be-Former-Mexican-In-Residence is not getting away that easy. We have plans for him in regards to The Pen & Ink Blogpost, but such plans will be revealed in a future post.
      Sincerely,
      The Management

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  9. Loved the blog! And you're leaving LA??? Aww man. Come to Writer's Days next year. You were my new cool writing friend. And I might be emailing Terri. I'm starting a new manuscript and my crit group has scattered about the county. Oy.

    Thanks again Lupe!

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    Replies
    1. This is Beth Navarro by the way. Otherwise known as Unknown.

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    2. Thanks Beth aka Unknown. I will be attending the conference in August, so you can get your cool fix there.

      I encourage you to work with Teri. She's fearless with manuscripts, and she lives in an attractive Sherman Oaks house.
      Sincerely,
      Soon To Be Former Mexican-In-Residence

      Delete
  10. Hope you settle quickly in San Fran, Lupe! All the best!

    Amy

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Amy. I continue to read your endless fascinating blog.
      Sincerely,
      Frisco Kid

      Delete

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