Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Leopard Boots and Critique Partners

When it comes to shoes and boots, I’m not so much conservative as practical.  I try on the funky and fun ones, then always end up going for the sturdy and basic.  After all, they will match more clothes and fit the maximum occasions.

 At any rate, I had to buy boots last weekend.  As I sat there with a pile of funky and practical boots all around me, I opened my mouth to tell the saleswoman what I’d decided and she said,  “OMG, you’re going to buy the boring ones, aren’t you?”

“How do you know?”

“Because you always chicken out.” She waved her hand at a pair of really cool sandals I’d been eying and said I might get for spring. “You’ll never buy those either . . . unless you break down and get the boots you really want right now.”

I sighed, then asked to try on a pair of boots I hadn’t even dared to ask her to get off the shelf.

I now am wearing my wonderful, funky and fun Ariat boots with leopard bottoms, red tops, fake fur and touches of patent leather.  

They fit like a dream. They have tough soles, which are great in snow.  They aren’t warm, but that wasn’t what I needed.  

So how do my new boots connect to writing and critique partners?

To me a great critique partner (and especially a first reader) is like that saleswoman. They are writing partners and trusted friends who don’t let me settle for the same old thing. They are someone who detects my weakness, calls me on them and pushes me to take risks and go for my dream.

I guess--as I move toward the third draft of Red Bandana and am soon to return to working on Moonhill-- I’m feeling totally grateful for my writing friends who have risked offending or angering me, who give me the honest critiques and shoves that have gotten me as far as I’ve come.  

So, what risks have you taken lately in life or writing?


  1. I LOVE THOSE BOOTS! They're practical and FUNKY! Yay!!!!!!

    Last risk. Not only doing a VLOG but uploading it. Eek, that was scary.


  2. I think a VLOG counts as at least two risks.

    Don't tell anyone, but it did go through my mind that leopard print won't show stains--like dropped coffee splashes.

  3. I really like your new boots, Pat. But a sales lady who says "you *always* chicken out," and that your choices are boring???
    What's the world coming to...?

    Now CP are another thing. The ones who always say how much they like, and how great, (the sales person's version of customer being always right) - such critiques are not critiques at all.


  4. I enjoy praise as much as any other writer, but you're so right about CPs who fail to critique. Actually, that kind of critique makes me more upset than an over-the-top negative ones.