This is my journey in creating concepts, writing, illustrating, finding a literary agent, and becoming a published children's book author and illustrator for the picture book genre.

Friday, April 19, 2013

the great and powerful critique group...

I finally attended my first critique group. I can't begin to tell you what an amazing experience this was. There were only three of us and two works to discuss. Although I was the only illustrator of the group, their feedback was insightful. One member of the group is a copy editor. Made me miss my very own super hero. Need a super hero of your own? Check out this one!
What a wonderful experience. It is always nice to be surrounded by those who love to write. It was nice to discuss experiences from those who have been aspiring for a longer period of time than myself. Experience can be the greatest gift when shared.
As for the great and powerful critique groups that are referenced often in all kinds of author society sites, they can hinder or help the writer. It has an opportunity to inspire or cripple the writer in their pursuits of storytelling. This particular group was intimate, kind, and full of tranquil interjection. Tranquil interjection? What is that? Well, all opinions and comments were calm and centered. They were addressed by page. Yes, the flaws were heightened and  straightforward. At first, they were hesitant to contribute, I pleaded for their input. I petitioned them for constructive criticism that would assist my growth. I want to develop my talents and sculpt them into a proficient writer and illustrator of children's literature.
I have learned that one can write, but to write well you need a critique group to help sort out little aspects that don't synthesize with the overall writing. As I read my story aloud, I changed word tenses that were written one way and verbalized differently. Out of this discussion, I have decided to add music to my songs in my story. After all, how fun would it be to illustrate a page of music and incorporate it with a nature scene and characters. If a child plays the recorder, they will be able to play this song. This idea manifested from a discussion with another writer who has been published by a small publishing company.
At the end of the group, ending formalities were exchanged. We discussed the possibility of sending work over the internet for review by others as a possibility. Next Friday, I will attempt to attend this group again with work ready for critique. This week, more illustrations of my story will continue. I will post them as they are created.
For those aspiring, find a critique group that brings the best out of you. I had my doubts, but now I understand. To flourish and become what we aspire, one cannot walk the road alone. We must walk hand in hand with those we pull inspiration from and give it in return. I am grateful for what I have learned.
I am writing. I am illustrating. As always, I am aspiring....Someday, I hope to be a published author/illustrator of children's stories promoting etiquette in the new generation of adults in training.

In the words of the great Emily Post,
 “There is no reason why you should be bored when you can be otherwise. But if you find yourself sitting in the hedgerow with nothing but weeds, there is no reason for shutting your eyes and seeing nothing, instead of finding what beauty you may in the weeds. To put it cynically, life is too short to waste it in drawing blanks. Therefore, it is up to you to find as many pictures to put on your blank pages as possible.” 

To the Great and Late Mrs. Post;
I am finding many pictures to put on my blank pages! There are far less blank pages now and more pages filled with colorful illustrations depicting a little ant's journey learning to ask for help from his friends.
Cassaundra Dunbridge, Aspiring Children's author and illustrator

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