Q: Do you use critique groups or other resources to polish your writing?
A: I swear by critique groups—my writing output would probably decrease by half without them. When you’re writing by yourself, it’s easy to get discouraged and think no one’s ever going to read your work-in-progress. But when you know your critique group is going to read it, plus it has to be ready in three days, it’s serious motivation to get off Twitter and back to work. I belong to a stellar writing group in my neighborhood, where writers of various backgrounds and genres meet up weekly to talk craft, navigate plot holes, and drink too much wine. I’m also notorious for running story ideas past friends with no invitation whatsoever. My friends are used to getting phone calls that open with “Hi, so, question: octopus-people. Yea / nay?” I have very patient friends.