So as you can tell, i’ve had a pretty exciting past few days. It’s been kind of surreal, really, hearing that other countries think they can sell my book (ahh!), and officially becoming a contracted author. Honestly. What has my life become?

But before I get all I AM THE GREATEST WRITER OF ALL TIME, I want to pay tribute to how I got here.

Through very, very honest friends.

Here’s the thing about writing a manuscript – usually the first draft is not good. Mine was not at all. I mean, it was a story with a plot and major characters. There was a beginning, middle, and end. Things happened and upon reading it, I thought (hoped) it might have potential. But after editing it to make it all shiny and pretty, I didn’t go straight to querying agents. I queried my friends.

A few of my amazing friends became critique partners. They’d read and go over my manuscripts before anything. They’d tell me what was good, what was bad, and what maybe, possibly had potential. They were honest and brutal. They were kind and helpful. AND THEY WERE AMAZING.

They told me when I used words too often (eyebrows, apparently), and told me when a character just wasn’t sitting right (one actually wrote “I want to strangle her right now.”) They told me when the plot felt meh, and when something just didn’t make sense.

And all of those critiques made not only my manuscript better, but me as a writer better. I need their input. I value it so much. And I know that no matter how many negative things they say about the story, they’re doing it because they want the story to succeed. There’s never anything more.

And now? I love getting messages from them like, “I just saw someone at B&N who reminded me SO MUCH of *insert character here*” or “that was such a *character* thing you just said.” Because, oddly enough, the story that felt real to me all that time, now feels real to them, too.

(Special shout-out to Katie, Colure, Michelle, Misty, and Joe. And S, of course.)

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