June Rodriguez
DORI: Two weeks ago I suggested that we each familiarize ourselves with the type of writing that each of the Friday Night Write partners aspire to emulate. So, I finally copied a chapter from James Grippando’s Born to Run, as an example of the type of writing that is appropriate for my genre, but at the same time has a similarity to my own writer’s voice. Tonight all of my writing partners read the chapter and now have a copy of that chapter to keep as a reference in reviewing my work. I now keep a copy on my desk as a reference to check my own work against. I think it is a valuable tool for me, and hopefully will help my partners to better critique my work. I look forward to seeing similar examples from each of my partners. Will be interesting to see the impact on our value to each other as critique partners.

JUNE: I continued to rifle through my meager stash of books looking for an example of my writing type. I needed to go to the library and the local book store before I settled on an author whose style is similar to my own. Two books later I have my future example to provide to the group next week. And in the process I have a new author I will be following.

JACKIE: I am right behind you June. There are several authors that have parts of me in them. Maybe I will create an “anthology” of work that represents my style. I say this mostly because my book contains elements of a few genres.

One thing I look forward to, is visiting stories l have left on the shelf for awhile. It will be interesting to see, while backtracking, a time track of influences that have helped create the writer I have become.

SARAH: It was very interesting to see your example, Dori. Not only was the excerpt enjoyable to read, but I gained a fresh perspective on what sort of flow you’re looking for. One thing for sure, I was definitely intrigued with the way the author set up his characterization. Seems like an awesome book and learning tool. Good choice!

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JUNE: So I have put it off long enough and this weekend my goal is to sign up for Facebook. We have established that starting a Facebook page is one of the things each of us needs to do to build up our platform. I’m not one to toot my horn so I have been reluctant to follow through on this. But lately I have found myself out of the loop of what information is being passed out through Facebook. I am the last one still standing outside the circle.

DORI: I have a Facebook page, but I’m not addicted to it as some are. However, I could certainly be using it more to my advantage than I have. In order to get value out of it, you have to use it. The trick is to have at least one day a week that you update the page and link with others. Definitely a great way to stay connected to people and let them know what’s going on in your life. So, when you have a book to promote you can let everyone know with a few key strokes and a click of the button. Gotta love being a writer during the technology age.

JACKIE: It will be nice to see your smiling face. Facebook is a great place to encourage each other as well, and to share a laughing moment. (Sarah does this so well.) Opportunities are endless, but most important I think, is that our faces will be out there. Even when time goes by before you check in, you are still connected to other writers who continue as part of your loop and vice versa.

SARAH: By taking this step, June, you’re not just getting linked in− you’re making an investment in your future. There are many facets to a FB page. For one, it’s the perfect media for growing a following. You should make it a goal to keep meeting other writers and readers. “Friend” your favorite writers and you’ll be “in the know” on their next release AND getting an awesome tutorial in Authorhood 101!! Just remember to give yourself time to play and work. It’s your platform, make the most of it!

Ha! Next up, is Twitter, right?!

DORI: Still haven't gotten into Twittering yet, so I'm in the same boat as June there. Taking baby steps.
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JACKIE: We have to keep writing--over, under, and across the inputs and opinions of others, even contest judges. When you consider the evaluation of ten judges and find at least eight diametrically opposed opinions that is a clue to listen to your own voice. Trust it.

As long as your craft is evolving you should have confidence that your story will reach the right readers. Guess who they will be? They will be the thousands (or millions) that enjoy what the judges who gave you high marks enjoyed.

A good writer has only one challenge--find the audience to love you.

SARAH: The one thing entering contests has shown me is the value of moving forward. While I appreciate the time and effort the judges put into my entry, I’m the one who has the final say.

For instance, I got my results back from the Gotcha Contest and was completely stumped with the comments. Two of my judges had contradictory advice. What the heck does one do with that? The old Sarah would have agonized over what was said, maybe changing and rewriting--but that’s so 2009! The new Sarah is focused on moving forward!!

DORI: Good for you, Sarah. We would all love every word to be perfect, but in striving to reach that goal you may never finish writing your book. That is particularly true of a first book. Writing is a life-long learning process. Each book will be better than the last. The key is to finish. Don’t spend forever trying to get everything just right. Instead, just write!

JUNE: Just writing sounds wonderful. With everything else in our lives that demand our time, finding that elusive writer heaven is so difficult. Dori and Sarah have been my inspiration the last couple of weeks. If you guys can carve out time to move forward I will strive to follow suit. We may not be able to follow our dream of a writing retreat right now but when we do I want to be able to have that first manuscript to edit with the rest of you. You go girls.

DORI: I'm certainly one to rely on the excuse that I don't have time. You know how crazy and demanding my life is, but trying to carve out time for something every week is keeping me moving forward. One nice thing about thrillers is that they generally have short chapters, generally less than ten pages. I have just been focusing on having at least one new chapter a week for all of you to review. I would love to see you follow suit, June. Just jump in and don't be afraid to bring something forward that is less than perfectly polished. Just write!


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