Monday, August 3, 2015

Eliza Redgold & Critique Partners

Please welcome Eliza Redgold to the blog today!

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I’ve been asked to write about my writing craft on my journey to publication and whether I work with a critique partner. I sure do! In fact, I’ve invited her to share this post!

Eliza Redgold: 
I have two critiquing processes. I’m part of a critique group with four other writers. We meet monthly
(with tea and cakes) to read and review a couple of chapters of each of our current works in progress. The Wordwrights group includes Janet Woods, Deb Bennetto, Karen Saayman and Carol Hoggart. They’re all very different writers. Janet is a multi-published and well-known English saga writer, Karen writes suspense, Deb writes romance and Carol is currently working on historical fiction (along with her PhD).  They saw the manuscript for NAKED in various stages of undress. I always appreciate their feedback, even when it is tough love.

I also have the most amazing critique partner, romance author Jenny Schwartz. We met at an authors’ lunch and I knew we’d be friends when she laughed at a rather risqué joke I made. Jenny reads the full manuscript when it’s done. She’s got an enviable eye for detail and plots brilliantly, but what I appreciate most is that she’s a woman of integrity. She has values she lives and writes by.  My characters are always better people but the time Jenny has finished with them!

Having someone else read your work is only part of the journey. For me, reading other writers’ work and thinking about it deeply helps to hone the craft. Most importantly, it offers friendship and company along the way. Ain’t that what it’s all about?

Jenny Schwartz:
Eliza’s jokes are funny. People at our favourite beach café must wonder what the heck we’re talking about, we’re laughing so much. Sorry, guys, it’s work. We swear, it’s work! But writing – or rather, talking about writing and the fast-changing world of publishing – is fun when you’re chatting with a kindred soul.

I can’t tell you how much Eliza has improved my writing, especially my plotting. I now have an invisible Eliza who bursts out of the cupboard in my study to haunt me when I fall into plotting errors. I have entire (imaginary) conversations with her before, grumbling and muttering, I take her advice and my plot problems miraculously solve themselves.
That’s how important a good critique partner is – they show you your weaknesses and your strengths and help you to work on both. 

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ELIZA REDGOLD is an author, academic and unashamed romantic. She writes historical fiction (St Martin’s Press) and romance (Harlequin).

“NAKED: A Novel of Lady Godiva” will be released internationally by St Martin’s Press New York in July 2015. Her ‘Romance your Senses’ series of contemporary romances are published by Harlequin (MIRA) Australia and Escape Publishing. They include Black Diamonds, Hide and Seek and Wild Flower (2015 release). Eliza is also contracted to Harlequin Historical (London) for two upcoming Victorian historical romances. Look out for them! She is represented by Joelle Delbourgo Associates US.

Eliza Redgold is based upon the old, Gaelic meaning of her name, Dr Elizabeth Reid Boyd. English folklore has it that if you help a fairy, you will be rewarded with red gold. She has presented academic papers on women and romance and is a contributor to the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Romance Fiction. As a non-fiction author she is co-author of Body Talk: a Power Guide for Girls and Stay-at-Home Mothers: Dialogues and Debates. She was born in Irvine, Scotland on Marymass Day and currently lives in Australia.

By day a mild-mannered university lecturer with a PhD, by night she is a wild-mannered writer of historical fiction and romances. “Writing makes me braver. It has inspired adventures (and misadventures!) in travel, nature, art, literature and even gastronomy. I hope my books will inspire you too! They’re for people who love a good story, but want to discover new things. They also feature adventurous heroines who are prepared to take risks in life and love. Though in life and in love, of course, things never go quite as planned …”

Eliza Redgold on the web:
Website             Facebook      Twitter      Author Page

NAKED: A Novel of Lady Godiva
We know her name. We know of her naked ride. We don't know her true story.

We all know the legend of Lady Godiva, who famously rode naked through the streets of Coventry,Naked is an original version of Godiva's tale with a twist that may be closer to the truth: by the end of his life Leofric had fallen deeply in love with Lady Godiva. A tale of legendary courage and extraordinary passion, Naked brings an epic story new voice.
Covered only by her long, flowing hair. So the story goes, she begged her husband Lord Leofric of Mercia to lift a high tax on her people, who would starve if forced to pay. Lord Leofric demanded a forfeit: that Godiva ride naked on horseback through the town. There are various endings to Godiva's ride, that all the people of Coventry closed their doors and refused to look upon their liege lady (except for 'peeping Tom') and that her husband, in remorse, lifted the tax.

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Enter this Goodreads Giveaway to win signed copy of Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva.
A Kindle copy giveaway of Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva to one commenter!
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Thanks Eliza!!
I totally agree - critique partners are worth their weight in gold and chocolate! How about you? Want to give them a shout out in the comments?

20 comments:

  1. She has a lot of critique partners - that helps!

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  2. Sounds like the critique group works well. NAKED sounds intriguing as I've often wondered about Lady Godiva and what she was really like.

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  3. Critique partners are essential. I love my critique group. I'm going to let someone else win this. My TBR list is pretty high right now.

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  4. I loved reading about the critique group especially Eliza and Jenny. Couldn't help but improve with such great input. Nice work if you can get it! I've read about the release of Naked before. Sounds intriguing. :-)

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  5. I wish I had a physical group to visit. I was part of a group many years ago, but it was a negative experience.

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  6. Dezzy - she is :)

    Alex - it really does!

    Mason - me too :)

    Natalie - my crit buddies are amazing too!

    Denise - it does indeed!

    Diane - me too. I don't know anyone in my 'real life' who writes!

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  7. I'm envious that you meet in person and have cake! My group is all over the world! Miss that human contact to talk about writing.

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  8. What a great group! I've been part of a couple of great critique groups and also part of a couple of not so great ones. It's so important to find one that works for you. Now I have one critique partner who's absolutely awesome. All of these have been online. I have no idea what it's like to have an in-person group.

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  9. Hey great post and my daughter in law has been talking about this book. Sounds like it s going to be a good one. Congrats on the release.

    Jacqui Jacoby

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  10. Lee - yes! That in person contact would be awesome!

    Carol - me neither - but it would be fun to try!

    Jacqui - it really sounds awesome!

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  11. Hi everyone, thanks for these great comments! Great critique partners really do make the difference - whether in person or online. Thanks for the congratulations, it has all been very exciting. Enjoy Naked!

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  12. I love that you brought your Critique Partners along! :-)

    CPs are a vital part of my writing process as well. In fact, I have about twenty people I contact as soon as I want to start editing. (Not at the same time, necessarily, but I write multiple genres, and I prefer more than five readers per book.)

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  13. Great interview! Yes, there's nothing like great critique readers to help us get our manuscripts in line.

    Don't worry about entering me in the contest (I'm already far behind in my reading) but congratulations to Eliza!

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  14. Eliza - thanks for the post and the visit!!

    Misha - I need to get more readers, but it's not always easy to find the just-right people :)

    Beth - those crit buddies are truly priceless!

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  15. Critique partners are so invaluable! Not only as a means to write the best book you possibly can, but also for emotional and mental support!

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  16. I'm so glad to have amazing CP's on my side to encourage me and help me shape my writing. Naked looks like a fantastic read.

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  17. I could;t agree more....

    Critique partners are invaluable and such a source for inspiration. I, too, love to critique because it sharpens my skills when I write my own work.

    Naked looks like a wonderful read. Congrats to Eliza.

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  18. Julie - true! I wouldn't like to imagine what state I'd be in without my buddies!!

    Medeia - it does!

    Michael - I was amazed when I first joined an online community how much critiquing for others improved my own skills!

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  19. I have been hearing such great things about Naked and it sounds fascinating. I loved hearing more from Eliza and her critique partner, Jenny. It sounds like they have a great relationship. When I read what Jenny wrote about her imaginary conversations with Eliza over plot points I had to laugh because this happens to me all the time. I have a whole conversation in my head with Stephanie, my co-author, and I can totally hear what she would say and then we go back and forth and then I solve my problem. Very helpful for times I can't reach Stephanie. :)

    Wishing Eliza and Jenny the best of luck!
    ~Jess

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