More importantly, however, I received a lesson from my old mentor, children's author and book editor Louise Ladd. Back in the day, when I was taking her class, she impressed on me the need to introduce and maintain a sense of urgency when writing children's adventure books.
Last week, I sent her a copy of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel to see what she thought of it. When I took part in her writing group eight years ago, the members of the group read and critiqued each other's writing. Over two years, I submitted the first six chapters of the book. I learned a lot about creating a sense of urgency, and my writing improved as a result.
Somewhere along the line, though, it appears I lost sight of that a little. Louise thought that while the book was imaginative, fun and a good read, the urgency was lacking in the middle of the book. Ouch.
So, how did her honest opinion make me feel? It made me think, that's for sure. Is my book perfect? No. But in spite of that, it's a good book. There's no such thing as a perfect book, and I can always do better--I'm always learning.
So I'm grateful to Louise for the reminder. It will help me keep improving my writing, and it will help me to make the new book as good as it can be. Louise is a great editor and teacher, and I'm glad I was able to reconnect with her.
Do you have a writing mentor, or someone whose advice has been instrumental in shaping who you are as a writer? If so, let us know who they are and a little bit about them.