I’d still be writing 200,000-word monstrosities with marginal plot if I hadn’t found the courage to let others read and critique my writing. Terrifying at first, to be sure, but I cannot quantify how much I’ve learned from other writers, critique groups, and writing classes since then. It’s made me the writer I am today. If I ever get Hooligans published, I’ll be thanking at least 17 people (and counting) by name in my Afterward for making my novel what it is today. I just don’t even want to imagine what my novel would have been without them. I got feedback on multiple occasions that made me go back and pretty much re-write the entire thing, but each time it got better and better. I made some people read various first chapters at least three times. Without all my writer friends, it would have been sad. Just sad.
Writing is a solitary pursuit, but harnessing the skill and knowledge of other writers is what makes my novels happen. I’m constantly amazed by the generosity and thoughtfulness that my writer friends devote to work that isn’t even theirs.
If you have to give an Oscars speech thanking the people who helped make your novel, what might you say? Who would you thank?