Today we have author Sara R. Turnquist visiting. Welcome!
What would you like to tell readers about yourself?
* Sara is originally from middle TN. After a short stint in Memphis, where she earned a degree in Biology and began a career as both a Zoo Educator and a Sleep Technician, she then followed a dream to work for a large zoo in Orlando, FL as an Educator. Once she and her husband started their family, they moved back to Tennessee. Sara and her husband now enjoy a full life with their three beautiful and very active children. Sara enjoys many creative outlets – singing, piano, drawing, drama, and organizing anything. And even though she has enjoyed her career as a Zoo Educator, Sara’s great love of the written word continued to draw her to write. She has always been an avid reader and, for many years, has been what she terms a “closet writer”. Her travels and love of history have served to inspire her to write Historical Fiction. Sara has made several trips overseas to the Czech Republic. Her time among the Czech people and the landscapes of the country inspired her and greatly influenced her work on her debut novel, The Lady Bornekova, set in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic. Sara is also a member of the ACFW.
Today Sara R. Turnquist will be talking about — THE WRITE STUFF: THE BENEFITS OF A CRITIQUE GROUP.
* I cannot say enough good things about my critique group. Or about the benefits of a critique group in general. No matter what stage of writing – whether a newbie or a seasoned professional. My critique group is made up of all stages and places. And I love that. So, what can a writing group do to benefit me? I’ll spill the beans here…
* Provide Instant Feedback. This is one of the most basic and obvious reasons anyone joins a critique group. I encourage everyone to be bold enough to share his or her work. That’s the only way to improve. Let the group see it and give feedback. The more eyes, the more they can catch. This is not because the writing is bad, it’s because there are only so many things the writer can catch. We tend to be too close to the work. This is, however, where I advise everyone to be choosy about his or her critique group. No one wants a group that is vicious or tears others down. If that’s the vibe, don’t go back; but try another group.
* Broaden Your Horizons. By this I mean that we can learn more about our craft from others who are further along in their careers. I can benefit from others who have editors that have taught them different things. What can I glean from someone who attended a conference workshop that I didn’t have access to? These are all things to think about.
* Teach. There may even be an opportunity to teach others. This not only brings on the warm fuzzies, but it solidifies your knowledge of craft and gives anyone a confidence boost. As we learn and grow in our craft, we should turn around and teach others.
* Connect. Those in the group that are published and going to conferences can connect newbies in the group with people in the industry they have met. This can be extremely valuable. During my time in my critique group, I have come to see the necessity of going to conferences and workshops and even taking online courses. All of these things have grown me in my craft. But I never would have known where to find these things had it not been for my critique group’s fearless leader, who encouraged and connected me with other writers.
* Accountability & Support. That regular check-in keeps everyone accountable to continue working, so we have something to share if nothing else. But the groups’ support and encouragement helps everyone strive to complete projects and move further along in their career.
* These are just a few of the benefits. As I said, I could go on and on (but I won’t). The next question you are bound to ask is “how do I find a critique group?”. I would look in your city or surrounding area through local publications, or check with the public library. Utilizing your computer to search for local groups can also prove fruitful. If there isn’t anything promising, try to find an online critique partner, or critique group. I would look for these through a search as well. The important thing for me is that I am in a group led by or at least regularly attended by a published author.
A look into…
~ Blurb ~
* “Go home!” Ismene is speechless as she reads those words written in blood on the walls of her new home. The young, raven-haired Grecian beauty had traveled all the way from her homeland to marry the Pharaoh’s top general. But she never expected this. The hatred of the Alexandrian mob for their Greek rulers is right in front of her. It is the first of many threats she will receive.
* Things are escalating out of control. Damaged crops and horses turned loose at night are one thing. But when Ismene receives a death threat, it becomes clear that there is a spy within her own household. She would turn to her husband to deal with this issue, except he left for battle by order of the Pharaoh. Not knowing whom to trust, she fears for her safety as well as the entire ruling class of Egypt.
~ Excerpt ~
* “Can you please take this blindfold off?” Ismene loved surprises, but couldn’t stand the waiting. Alistair had risen early to prepare a special breakfast for them and served her in bed. Then he had told her that he had something special planned for them today—a special place for them to visit.
* “Not yet,” Alistair said as he gripped her waist. Their chariot went over a bump which caused him to pull her to him even more tightly. She smiled at the feel of his secure embrace; even after this short time it still caused butterflies in her stomach.
* She felt the chariot continue to move down the smooth path with a little rocking here and there as the wheels found imperfections in the road.
* “We’re almost there, I promise,” he assured her. His voice was close to her ear and it gave her warm chills. She thought of the feel of those lips on her neck. There wasn’t much time to daydream, though, because, true to his word, it wasn’t much longer before she felt him slow the horses and still the chariot.
* “Ready for your surprise?” he asked.
* “Yes!” She feigned exasperation.
* Only then did he reach up, untie her blindfold, and let it fall. “The great Library of Alexandria.”
Thank you for joining us here today, Sara R. Turnquist! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your story.
ANNOUNCEMENT! Sara R. Turnquist will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour! So be sure to leave a comment AND use this RAFFLECOPTER LINK to enter the drawing. Also, visit the other tour stops for a greater chance of winning!