On February 23rd I had the pleasure of speaking at the Oregon Christian Writers one-day winter conference in Salem, Oregon.
I arrived about thirty minutes late due to an accident on the freeway but, after checking in, I entered the main auditorium and listened to the keynote speaker, Carrie Stuart Parks. Carrie is an award-winning, internationally known forensic artist and author. I had read about her before the conference. She taught classes for the FBI, Secret Service, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Her awards include the Christy, Carol, and the INSPY.
She talked about her progression from artist to writing books on drawing and on to her fiction novels. I enjoyed the way she mixed art and writing in a talk about growth. Evidently, I missed how she met Frank Peretti and came to be mentored by him. As a longtime fan of his novels, I would have taken eager notes on that.
Fortunately, I wasn’t late for my class on Finding and Forming Critique Groups. I’ve attended critique groups for more than a decade and through them learned many valuable writing lessons and formed lasting friendships.
As authors, we spend many hours alone while writing, but sometimes we need the perspective of others. That’s where the critique group comes in handy. Getting out of our comfort zone and letting others read and comment on our work is hard, but that is what we do as published authors.
I hope to expand upon the talk and give it at other events.