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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

WRITING COLLABORATIONS: Serial Killing with Critique Partners

By Robin Weaver

There’s a crazy quote that goes:
A friend will help you move, but a real friend will help you move a dead body.

I’ve put my own spin on this adage:  
A critique partner will check your grammar and ensure there are no plot holes. My critique partners check for a pulse and dig the hole for the body.

Not literally, of course (at least not yet J). We did, however, spend an entire Saturday afternoon devising the twenty most unusual places to discover a corpse. We certainly got strange looks in the restaurant. While the ladies at the next table discussed gardening, the latest diet, and Ryan Gosling, we talked about growing herbs that double as poisons, the feasibility of a plot where all the skinny bitches turn up dead, and Ryan Gosling (hey, we might be morbid, but we’re not stupid).

Still, nothing unusual about mystery writers talking about murder and mayhem, right? What is unusual, though, is how extraordinarily nice these woman are when they’re not penning rising body counts and techniques for collecting on life insurance without raising suspicion.

One of my lovely critique partners is a vegan who runs a non-profit organization, volunteers in her community, makes bucket-loads of candy for her friends, and drops everything to proofread a manuscript because one of us stupidly forgot a blog was due. If you looked up the word nice in the dictionary, her picture would be there.  But do you know what she does when she gets her fingers on a keyboard????
 She kills people with fire ants, boils men in defective hot tubs, and runs over perfectly nice ex-FBI agents with motorcycles.
My other partner has a generosity that never peters out. Remember that song, I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke? That’s her, buying the world a GMO-free drink (NOTE: In case you don't know, GMO is genetically modified organisms). She’s a spiritual person with a heart of pure gold who tirelessly donates her time and energy to volunteer organizations, endlessly champions the underdog (be it individual or group), promotes other authors tirelessly (often at the expense of her own books), and offers words of encouragement to anyone who needs a little pick-me-up. In her books, the victims don’t die in scary, scary ways. Nope, what she does in a manuscript is worse.
She kills off nice people.  Yep, innocent yoga instructors, the person who just dropped in for a massage, and the groom (on the day of his wedding). Oh, did I mention she might hang the body in an orchid conservatory?

My third critique partner is like a drink of cold water on a hot day. She is so sweet bluebirds sit on her shoulder. When we went to the Moonlight and Magnolia’s Conference, the mice made her a ball gown—okay, not really, but I suspect they would if she asked.  Still, her name is synonymous with kindness.  When she writes…
Eh… she creates contemporary stories of hope and inspiration. Now that I think about it, she might be the scariest one of us.

I love these ladies, but you know what? I’m going to do my utmost to never, ever tick them off. How do such wonderful human beings write such gruesome stories?
The answer is simple, they have vivid imaginations. They entertain themselves, and you, by making up stories. Maybe if more people expunged their dark sides ONLY in their heads, we really could achieve world peace.



Judith Ashley said...

Robin - what a great post and testament to your critique group. I'm curious as to how they'd describe you now.
And, your idea for world peace? Fantastic and it just could work. Instead of AK47's maybe we could promote laptops with Scrivener or another similar program. Seeing the trailers for some of the movies and television shows out there now, I'm sure these folks could make a fortune! ;)

Lori Waters said...

I always say there's a fine line between writing and crazy! :)

What a great blog. I know I would be lost without my CP's. I'm describing one of mine in my head right now. :)

Robin Weaver, Author of Blue Ridge Fear said...

Great idea, Judith! Like the laptops with Scrivener. Could even put little barrels and rifle butts on the laptops. Lol

Sandy said...

You are so fortunate to have such great critique partners. They sound like great ladies to have lunch with, also! It's always good to have friends to exchange ideas with, everyone comes away a winner.

Sarah Raplee said...

What is that quote about genius being one step away from madness? LOL

Ashantay Peters said...

Hmm...I have a fabulous critique partner, too. She robs me of my funk, kicks my writing butt and makes me dance to her tune, ah, Nintendo discs. Oh, and she cares about the environment, too, with her sexy solar panels. No one like her! Good thing, because she strands women in the woods then sends serial killers after them...all in the pursuit of world peace, of course!

Robin Weaver, Author of Blue Ridge Fear said...

A--you are too funny!

Dr. kold_kadavr_flatliner, MD, the Roamin' Cat said...
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