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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Know Your Weaknesses by Paty Jager

As I work on the final edits of the next Letters of Fate book, Brody, I am once again humbled by the wonderful people/writers I have as my critique/support team. I have had half a dozen critique partners (CP) over the years, with only a few who didn't work out. A writer couldn't ask for a better group than I have right now.

One is a person who has been my CP from the beginning of my career and I know believes in me and helping me become a better writer. She picks up the sentences I still write backwards- the whole reason that brought us together over 15 years ago. She was a judge for a contest I entered through Romance Writers of America (RWA). The other judges put lots of red on my manuscript and rewrote sentences but didn't tell me what I was doing wrong. This one judge explained what I was doing wrong, told me what she liked about my writing, and then put her email address on my entry. You can bet I sent her an email thanking her for explaining what I'd been doing wrong. We emailed back and forth and discovered she wrote historical westerns too, and she needed help with her horse/saddle knowledge. She offered to be my critique partner even though she knew way more about writing than I did. She has been my mentor, my friend, and someone I wouldn't want to write a book without.

I have been a fan of my other CP's work since I read her first manuscript. We've been together since 2006. Where the first CP helps with my sentence and story structure, this one makes me dig deeper for emotions and dimensional characters.

Than I have a beta reader. She was my first fan clear back when she read a procedural paper about making a ham sandwich I had to write for a writing class. She knows my characters and books better than I do! When the CPs give me ideas and things to fix, I revise and then send the story to my beta reader. She then tells me if there is anything else that needs addressed or find the flaws in my revisions. 

Right now the edits I'm working on are from the comments my CPs have made about my current book. Both nailed things that I, as the author, didn't see until it was brought to my attention. This is why I wouldn't write a book without either of these ladies.

A book isn't just one writer's imagination, words, and characters, it's built by a community of people who care about the other person putting out the best book they can. All three of us write in the same genre, but we don't feel we are competing with one another. We are enhancing the genre by helping each other put out the best books we can. We each have our own unique style and type of hero that we write.

I remember when I first joined RWA and writers were worried their ideas and characters would be stolen and used by someone else. Other than piracy, once you've written a book, and of course, unfortunately, plagiarism, you're story, idea, and characters are yours. No matter who reads your stuff, they aren't going to be able to duplicate your words, feelings, and emotions. I laughed when I started reading a critique by one of my CP's. Unbeknownst to me until I read the story, one of her secondary characters had the same name as my hero in my book. I had the name as my hero's first name and it was the last name of the character in her book. She had started her book before I started mine and we hadn't talked to each other about names or anything. A coincidence that we both like the same names.

A good writer knows they need help creating a good book. And a good writer knows their first draft is never the last draft. Revisions and edits are needed for every book.

So when will this latest book, Brody, be available? The end of the month if the rest of the edits go as planned. To understand what the Letters of Fate books are about you can check out Davis and Isaac.

Davis: Letters of Fate
Historical western filled with steamy romance and the rawness of a growing country.

Widowed with two small children and a ranch to run, Mariella Swanson knows she needs help, but isn’t sure her heart, or neighbors, will accept her marrying a stranger. When the greenhorn shows up, smoking a pipe and wearing a derby hat, she can’t help but wonder if agreeing to this marriage may prove to be her biggest mistake.
When Davis Weston receives a letter from his sister asking him to marry a friend, he scoffs at the idea. However, losing his wife and son has left him a lonely man, and the whispers from others that he didn’t do enough to save his family has gone on long enough. His arrival in Oregon may be worse—these neighbors are doing more than whispering. Guns and horses aren’t his forte. He’s willing to learn, but is he willing to love again?

Isaac: Letters of Fate
 Historical western filled with steamy romance and the rawness of a growing country.

Alamayda Wagner’s life has left her cynical, but also vigilant, and that’s what propels her to Morgan’s Crossing, Montana in order to uncover the secrets her father took to his grave. She quickly discovers her only hope includes trusting Isaac Corum. That soon proves to be expensive, and not just financially.
The last thing Isaac Corum needs or wants is a snooty woman telling him he didn’t do enough to save her father, which is what her letter implied. He’d helped the man more than most people would have, and swears he won’t go out of his way like that again. He’ll meet her at the Sweetwater Springs train station, deliver her father’s belongings, and send her back the way she came.
But, dang it all, the woman doesn’t do a single blasted thing she’s told, and Isaac can’t just sit back and let her go traipsing off into the mountains alone…


Note: June is my birthday month and I'm giving away prizes at my author FB page every Sunday. Stop in and see how you can win!

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 25+ novels and over a dozen novellas and short stories of murder mystery, western historical romance, and action adventure. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters.


  1. Loved your post, Paty. Critique partners are invaluable to me. We can't catch our own word order or other mistakes because we know what we intended to say. Sounds as if we are both lucky to have good critique partners.

  2. Caroline, Yes, Critique Partners are a necessity. I agree! We are lucky to have good CP's! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Lovely tribute to your partners in success.

  4. Thanks, Joan. They are truly by writing compass.


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