- MARILYN (Aquamarine): Marilyn has lots of experience in writing great middle grade novels as well as magazine stories. She is one of our grammar and sentence structure experts and has her own editorial service. Marilyn, you are one of the nicest editors I’ve ever known. (o: Your warmth toward others and willingness to help is one of your trademarks. Hug!
- NANCY (Emerald): Nancy writes practically everything from spell-binding historical middle grade chapter books, to nonfiction and fiction magazine pieces. She writes poetry, mini-plays, rebuses, curriculum, and devotionals. Nancy is an expert at market research and digging up accurate historical facts. Her wonderful editing and organizational skills are evident. Nancy, you encourage us to grow and you keep us informed about new writing opportunities. You are our humble leader and a loving friend to each of us. Thank you!
- MARJORIE (Diamond): Marjorie has written a GAZILLION short stories for children’s magazines and newspaper kid-pages. The number is actually over 300! Whew! She knows her stuff. She also writes middle grade chapter books. She has many talents, one being a knitting marvel. Her articles have appeared in knitting magazines and her finished pieces are incredible. Marjorie, you are a delight to know and your smile is contagious!
- SHIRLEY (Yellow Topaz): Shirley writes wonderful retold Bible and non-fiction pieces for magazines. She also writes exciting middle grade historical fiction as well as devotional material. Shirley, you are known for your sweet, SWEET spirit. You are such an inspiration and encourager to all of us!
- VERONICA (Amethyst): Veronica is our professional illustrator and designer. She is an absolute artist with words as well. Veronica writes non-fiction and really does her homework. She can envision illustrations as she writes, which adds to her creativity. This is helpful as she reads the manuscripts of others. Veronica, you have TWO wonderful gifts to share with us, and we are so glad to know you!
- GLORIA (Zircon): Gloria is our writing comedian. You never want to have any liquid in your mouth when she shares one of her hysterical manuscripts! She writes picture books, poetry, drama, and magazine stories. Gloria, your Southern accent is music to our ears, and you liven up our group with creativity and humor. You have the gift of hospitality and we love the Christmas parties at your home. Gloria, you’re just plain talented and fun!
- CATHERINE (Pearl): Catherine is amazing. Oh, how I wish I had Catherine’s brain! She writes non-fiction picture books, cliff-hanger-hold-your-breath middle grade fiction, devotionals, and magazine pieces. She is also an expert at doing research and so willing to help others. Catherine, thanks for your recent step-by-step help to me! Your blog devotionals lift our spirits—just as you do when you’re with us!
There’s one last member—Sheryl. That’s me, and I’m a Zircon. I write fiction and non-fiction picture books, magazine stories, retold Bible stories, rebuses, poetry, and mini-plays. I, along with my co-writer Lauren Harris, am working on a historical fiction middle grade chapter book. Looks like I’ve got a few experts around to help me!
During our meetings, I try to soak everything in from the experience and expertise of the seven “gems” around me— every one of them as special as the next.
If you belong to a critique group, you’ve probably realized that each member has something unique to offer. A different perspective. A creative idea. A thought provoking challenge. That ever-needed grammar help.
Every serious writer has strengths in one area or another. I believe our critique group brings out the STRENGTHS in each writer— strengths that some of us never knew we had. Isn’t that what a critique group is supposed to do?
YOU may be lovely gem in a single setting. If so, I hope that you will seek out and find a critique group that will surround you with an assortment of precious stones. It will stretch you and help you grow as a writer.
I’m so glad there was an empty setting waiting for me. What a stunning ring we’ve got!
Copyright 2008 Sheryl Ann Crawford