I'm a member of Sisters in Crime. No, it's not a pack of gun-totin' women out to rob, maim and kill. It's a professional organization that promotes women mystery writers. We had our local (Atlanta) chapter meeting this week with Chris Roerden as our speaker. But, more than that, I got to host Chris overnight in my home! What a treat!
Chris has been a book editor for years, and has edited some award winners. She's also written an Agatha-Award-winning book herself, the editing guide "Don't Murder Your Mystery." She's now written "Don't Sabotage Your Submission," which expands on the editing principles in "Don't Murder Your Mystery," and applies them to other genres.
"Don't Murder Your Mystery" is a great book (I haven't read "Sabotage" yet.), and I give it lots of credit for helping get my manuscript in good enough shape to land an agent.
But the real treat for me was having Chris and her friend Pat Meller stay with us overnight. Not only did I get a signed copy of "Don't Sabotage Your Submission," which I'm looking forward to spending time with when I begin editing my next manuscript Redneck Hex, but I got to know two very interesting women and easy, delightful house guests.
It's one of the best reasons for a writer to get involved with professional writers' organizations: to meet other people in the field. Writing can be lonely work. I worry sometimes that my social skills have flown right out the window and buried themselves in the red Georgia clay below. But once a month I get dig them up, scrub off the red stains and talk writing with other people, exercise my sometimes under-used verbal communication skills. And on special occasions I get to host someone whose work I admire, and who turns out, along with her friend, to be someone I like, as well.
So, get out of the house and join a group. You can improve your writing and your social skills in one easy step!