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Sister Act: 2012 Golden Heart Finalists Eileen Emerson and Elisa Beatty

 As this site’s name attests, there’s lots of fabulous Sisterhood in the romance-writing world.

 But when 2012 Golden Heart finalists Eileen Emerson and Elisa Beatty say they’re sisters, they mean it literally: they shared a room as little kids, cut the hair off each other’s Barbie dolls, and (a few years further down the road) were Maids of Honor at each other’s weddings and loving aunts to each others’ kids. RWA’s Carol Ritter thinks they’re the only biological sisters ever to final together in the Golden Heart.

If that weren’t enough closeness, they’re also CPs—and each other’s #1 cheerleaders on the road to publication.

That’s not to say they’re either interchangeable or totally simpatico. Elisa has a thing for dark-haired heroes with hulking frames. Eileen is more drawn to Englishmen of the slim, pale variety. Elisa relishes writing love scenes, Eileen would rather stick needles in her eyes than write something racy that their father might someday read. (Elisa makes her drink a glass of wine and do it anyway.)

Even their approaches to writing are different: Eileen’s a spreadsheet-addicted plotter tending towards OCD, Elisa’s a pantser with ADD…and chances are good she’s off playing Plants Versus Zombies right now.

 But both sisters appreciate intelligent, deeply emotional writing that can make readers laugh, cry or get that tell-tale clenching feeling behind their breastbones when the protagonists’ world is falling apart.

 And somehow they’ve found a working relationship that makes them both stronger writers, and will hopefully land them on your bookshelves (or Kindles) soon. Today they’ll be talking a few aspects of what makes that relationship tick.

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On the difference between our approaches to writing:

Eileen:

I tried writing by the seat of my pants and found that it scared me too much. I have to know at least the major beats of the story—the Call To Action, the Crisis, and the Climax, plus the large Turning Points that keep the conflict popping.

I use a simple line drawing from Martha Alderson, aka “The Plot Whisperer,” that shows these points graphically on a sheet of butcher paper (I’m a visual person.) I then use strips of Post-it page markers to lay out scenes that I’ll use to stitch the story together.

This gives me just enough structure that I don’t usually have to tear apart the book once I’m done the shitty first draft. And with that flexibility, the characters still surprise me with the odd little things they reveal as I’m writing in that mad, frantic get-it-on-paper stage.

Elisa:

I wish I weren’t a pantser, but when I even think the word “spreadsheets” I get a terrible throbbing pain all through my head. I’m messy. I’m terrible at planning. The night before I leave for Nationals, I’ll probably poke my head into my closet and say, “Hmm, what have I got in here to throw in my suitcase?” Don’t be surprised if I’m wearing sneakers to the Awards Ceremony. And in the hotel, Eileen will have all her things hung up within five minutes of entering the room, and I’ll have my stuff strewn all across the bathroom counter.  She’s Martha Stewart, I’m Oscar Madison. There will be a lot of quiet tut-tutting going on.

There’s a huge plus side for me to having a Highly Organized Sister: I’d never have finished my first book without Eileen setting a deadline for me. And she’s great for bouncing ideas off of (actually she MAKES me articulate my ideas, when I really, really just want to wallow around in the messiness of my own thoughts). Then she’ll say things like, “Do you realize you have four villains here? Could you maybe compress a couple of them together?” Or she’ll tell me, “Go back and figure out what the stakes are for the heroine in this chapter, because you’ve gone on for eighteen pages and I’m getting lost.” Or just (in a note on the third page of a chapter) “Your chapter starts here.”

On our biggest weaknesses as writers:

Eileen:

My biggest problem is that I write very “spare” prose. This means, when Elisa sees my WIP for the first time, she inevitably suggests adding in beats and bits of reaction to flesh out the emotional depth of scenes. I also tend towards very traditional POVs. One of the biggest things Elisa’s done for me is to suggest writing a scene from a different character’s POV than I used in the draft—and it’s always resulted in radically beefing up the conflict, while still tightening the action.

Elisa:  

Aside from my plotting issues, my biggest problem (surprise, surprise) is that I write too many words. I strew them as freely as I strew my toiletries. When I edit Eileen, I add lines. When she edits me, she cuts. And cuts. And cuts. But it really makes the work SOOO much better. My current Golden Heart book had bloated up to about 102,000 words, and Eileen got out her very hard-nosed red pen and helped me get rid of 10,000 of them. Without deleting a single scene.

On the advantages of being sister CPs:

Eileen:

Unlike newly attached CPs, we don’t have to walk on egg shells with each other. If something brutal needs to be said, we can say it without fear of crushing the other’s spirit. But it also means we have a certain working shorthand. A simple “mwraaaarr” in the margins tells us that we’ve nailed a particularly yummy bit of description or masculine derring do.…

Elisa:

Damn, I was about to say the same thing. Which is a pretty common occurrence for us. (Sometimes our emails cross in the ether and turn out to be virtually word-for-word the same. It’s a little freaky sometimes.)

The biggest plus-side is that we really get each other’s books and characters, and while we can be absolutely, glaringly blunt (saying things like “You cannot have your hero do that—it makes him look like a fluffy bunny rabbit wussy mama’s boy” without worrying that the other will refuse to speak to us at Christmas dinner), we also write a joyous “WOOOOOT!!!” in the margins many, many, many times. Along with all the “mwraaaarr”s.  And we whoop and scream with delight when we read polished scenes to each other over the phone. (Plus—when we’re not working like demons on our WIPs—we can find inspiration in our ridiculously giggly conversations about our mutual crush on Benedict Cumberbatch. One word for you, Eileen: “Beamboy.”)

Eileen:

One word back for you, Elisa: “Mwraaaarr!”

And now for something completely terrifying (for us):

We’re going to show you pdfs of a couple pages of our manuscripts with each other’s comments.

We use Track Changes, and sometimes those little comment balloons along the side fill up the entire right-hand margin–though for some reason last week, when we were in the Outer Banks together working on this post and looking for good examples, neither of us had the files on our laptops that show Elisa really going to town. Really, she’s not usually this mellow.

(Note: The ones from Elisa say the comments are coming from Jeff Peterson…ignore that. Our Mac is just set that way.)

Anyhow, this will give you a basic sense of what our working relationship is actually like on the page.

Here’s Eileen critiquing Elisa:

 

Here’s Elisa critiquing Eileen:

 

Thanks so much for being with us today!

You can learn more about us at elisabeatty.com and eileenemerson.com.

Here’s our question for you: If you have a CP, how does your writing relationship work? In what ways do you complement (and compliment) each other? How do you handle the blunt and brutal conversations?

 

 

 

 

77 responses to “Sister Act: 2012 Golden Heart Finalists Eileen Emerson and Elisa Beatty”

  1. I actually won a manuscript review in the Brenda Novak auction this year, and was very, very pleased with the job she did. While she didn’t line-edit the manuscript, she was very good about pointing out the huge stuff that didn’t make sense/didn’t really fit with my characters, and that helped me immensely.

    This is great- I always like to see others’ experiences with their CPs. I’m still on the hunt for a CP who both “gets” my work and isn’t afraid to tell me what looks stupid.

    But if I find her (or him), I hope they’re this tough on me.

    Oh, and P.S. – Eileen, the spare prose must be a side-effect of the plotting. I’m a huge plotter (spreasheets and all) and every single person who’s read my novel all the way through says “you should really add more descriptions”.

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    • Finding a great CP (or team of CPs) is really essential to success when you’re starting out. I don’t know how people do it without someone there to bounce ideas off of!

      I lucked out that a very generous, organized, and vocal member of my RWA Chapter (VFRW) named Elizabeth Kelley whipped together a “push group” that helped all three of us final in the Sheila this year. With that success, the push group expanded and we now have several pods working together with great success. (Elisa’s my main CP, but it’s nice to have a range of people who give you comments and suggestions. And I find it really helpful to read other people’s work — it invariably shows me things about my own writing that I never noticed.)

      Check with your local chapter to see if there’s a mentorship program or someone willing to set up a push group or two.

      I can’t wait to meet you next week, Lorenda!

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Having someone point out the “big picture” issues is huge!!

      I won a critique from Courtney Milan a couple years ago from the Brenda Novak auction, and she gave me some great advice about watching my character arcs across chapters.

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  2. Jean Willett says:

    What a great and supportive team you two make for each other. You obviously cherish and respect each other. What a great example for your children!

    I don’t have a CP, but I think I will with all the great Firebirds around to help out. I have to be very careful to respect my gut and intuition and not be swayed by other’s comments. So, it’s a fine edge for me.

    Good luck to both of you! 🙂 Anaheim time is here!

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    • Magdalen says:

      Jean — As the winner of the first-chapter-critique give-away from my post last Monday, I just want you to know I’m using PINK comments, not BLUE. I hope that’s okay. LOL

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    • Jean, I’m TOTALLY impressed that you’ve been a GH finalist so many times without a CP! You R-O-C-K, woman!

      When starting a new CP relationship, it’s important that you talk through what you want from the other writer, what bugaboos you have, how you’ll respond to the “harshness” level of comments, etc.

      If you’re not yet sure that having someone put their fingers deep into your paragraphs is something you’d appreciate, tell them that. Ask for high-level comments first. When you feel comfy, then let them know you’d like a little deeper set of reactions/suggestions/line edits, things that might sting a little.

      But it seems to me that you may not need that!

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      • Jean Willett says:

        Thanks, Eileen. I’ll jot those down and print them out. It’s a tough call when your vision is not a criticizer’s vision. So, if I can see it via craft or you give me a reason for the change, I’m more apt to understand and work with it. IT’s the vague comments that leave me scratching my head and that undermine the confidence. I’m tough on myself so sometimes I toss the baby with the bathwater and leave the drivel…ugh. Through the years, I’ve learned that my first flush of words is almost always the best. Then I feel I have to fix it…head-desk, slap-fingers.
        I enjoyed this blog and the examples. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      It IS amazing, Jean, that you’ve done so well flying solo!

      But if the first flush of words for you really is the best, maybe you don’t want anybody mucking about in there anyway.

      Lucky you!

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  3. Hi Elisa and Eileen –

    It’s fun to see sisters supporting each other! And that opposites can work well together and complement each other. CP’s are the most essential part of writing, I think, and CP’s you can trust are hard to find. I have three, and not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for them, even when they point out that I made my heroine sound like a My Little Pony. Trust is critical to a good relationship, and being able to accept the critique–even the harsh critique–and then work with it, makes that relationship even stronger. A shared love of Alex O’Laughlin also helps. 🙂 Love my CP’s!

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    • Well,…Elisa and I didn’t *always* support each other. There was that time in the 70’s when we weren’t speaking because her Ken doll was too much of a womanizer for me.

      You’re absolutely right — trust is the key factor in the CP relationship. You have to set up expectations from the get-go, and communicate clearly with each other. You have to usekid gloves at first, but when you figure each other out a little more, then you can begin getting more “real” with each other.

      I’m so glad you’ve found a good group, Alyssa!

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  4. Magdalen says:

    My philosophy as a CP or editor is to help the author tell the story she wants to tell. Sometimes that means pointing out my reactions as the reader and suggesting a change or two that might work. As a writer, when someone suggests changes, I often reject the proposed fix but I always pay attention to what the underlying problem was. This is as close as we, as writers, can get to having a reader tell us what she likes and what she doesn’t like. It’s not always comfortable, but learning what isn’t working is how we grow as writers.

    Thanks, E&E, for such a wonderful post — you’re both so generous with your time and efforts…with each other and for all of us as well.

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    • Oh, absolutely, Magdalen!

      Some comments just won’t “work” for the book, but I always listen to the underlying issue they have. It might not affect this particular bit of writing, but it generally informs other parts.

      In all the contests I’ve entered, there have been some judge comments that just made no sense (and I rejected them on a wholesale level.) But others did tug at something that I think I already knew somewhere deep inside me. I let the idea settle in my head for a day or two and then went in to see if I could make my work stronger with that comment in mind.

      When Elisa makes suggestions, I almost always take them — we’re that tuned in to each other’s writing that ignoring her comments would be a very bad idea indeed. I’m not saying I’m always smiling when I make the change, but I do make it. And I thank her later!

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Yes–unless you’re talking about fixing basic typos, editing really is about one person’s reaction. A good editor points out where he or she is experiencing a speed bump in the story, and makes suggestions about how it might be smoothed over. But a strong writer needs to know when to defend a piece of the book that’s truly integral. Like so many things in life, it’s a dance.

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  5. Terri Osburn says:

    As a person who doesn’t not have a traditional CP nor could spend five minutes with my sister without coming to blows, I highly admire you two! Such great support.

    And add me in with Lorenda. I couldn’t write without my character sheets an storyboard, but I write very sparse. Very little description, especially in the first draft. The good thing is that means a fast pace. The bad thing is that means all my characters are acting naked in empty rooms. 🙂

    I have a writer friend with whom I brainstorm and lovely beta readers who give me good feedback, but I can’t do the exchanging pages as I write.

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    • Elisa and I don’t do lots of “interim” exchanges — we tend to do it in large chunks of several chapters at a time.

      In fact, the first chance I had to really read her current GH book DEVIL MAY CARE was when she sent me the first 150 pages. And that was only this past June!! (And…when Elisa admitted that I suggested almost 10,000 words to be cut, she didn’t reveal to you all that was only in the first half of her book.)

      My other CPs like to exchange chapter-by-chapter.

      Both ways have their merits for me. And each writer has to find what works for them.

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      • Elisa Beatty says:

        I wish we had more time to exchange more frequently….the damned day job!!!

        I do think you suggested about 4,000 words worth of cuts…once I got the hang of what you were showing me, I cut even more deeply, plus cut on quite a few pages you hadn’t seen. That’s where the 10,000 words came from. Though there are probably more cuts to come in the final pages I haven’t tackled yet.

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  6. Susan says:

    Eileen and Elise, what a wonderful interview! Thank you for sharing your MS, I love seeing the way you support each other and push each other to deliver your best writing.
    Having a CP who knows your style, your weaknesses, your strengths, and knows she can be brutally honest in her feedback, is invaluable.
    My CPs are the best thing that’s happened to my writing. Best of luck to both of you in the Golden Heart!!

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    • Thanks, Susan. I’m so glad your CPs have been so helpful. It really is the very best boost to writing that I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t be amongst this year’s GH finalists if I hadn’t had that support.

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Thanks, Susan!

      I never would have entered my first GH contest without Eileen’s butt-kicking.

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  7. Lynn Kellan says:

    This entire interview made me smile! It’s no wonder Eileen and Elisa are GH finalists, because their voices are spectacular. I tend to be a combination plotter/pantser, so it was helpful to read how E and E help each other out. Wishing them both success and 3 book deals in the very near future! 🙂

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  8. Anne Barton says:

    Loved this post, Elisa and Eileen! What an adorable picture of you as kids. You two make an amazing team. Looking forward to seeing you both in Anaheim!

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    • Don’t you love that picture, Anne?! Elisa was the very best playmate and made up the most fascinating stories for our dolls. One vibrant memory of our afternoons out on the back porch (with the picnic table turned on its side) was when she invented Cardinal Man and Danger Boy.

      Never mind that we were playing with Barbies at the time. We made those polyester chiffon dresses WORK for superheroes!

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  9. You guys are so funny together! Thanks for sharing the edited pages too – very interesting.

    I turned into much more of a plotter when I had to submit a synopsis as part of a proposal in order to sell. But it’s actually a comfort when you’re on a deadline, and helps you see the “holes” in your logic before it’s too late.

    Best of luck in the Golden Heart – to both of you!

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Oh, I’m fighting so hard to become a plotter. It takes so darned much TIME untangling the mess I make as a pantser.

      It just doesn’t come naturally to my brain.

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  10. I can’t imagine there’d be “holes” in YOUR logic, Cathy. You’re one of the smartest people and writers I’ve ever met.

    *You’d* never have four villians all vying for attention in a single book. 😉

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  11. Loved seeing your edited pages. How wonderful for the two of you to be able to grow together as writers. Congrats on finaling together, too!

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  12. Pintip says:

    I love it! Thanks so much for sharing, especially your critiques of each other’s pages. Very enlightening! Congrats again for finaling, and double congrats for finaling together!!

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  13. Great post! And what a terrific relationship you two have! I loved seeing your pages. You manage to put fun into critiquing.

    I’ll admit I don’t have a CP. I got burned several years ago by someone who essentially said I was telling my story all wrong and then proceeded to rewrite it the way *she* would do it–i.e. in *her* voice. It took me awhile to understand that wasn’t a critique at all, but by then the damage had been done. I did show my first three chapters of The Lazarus Gambit to a chapter mate that I trust and she strongly encouraged me to enter the Golden Heart. Unfortunately, she’s far too busy to be a regular CP. Submitting to the Golden Heart last year was the first time I’d voluntarily shown my work to anyone since then!

    I’d love to find a CP I can trust (she says wistfully).

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Finding a good CP is weirdly like dating. You can have some utter disasters, and you kind of have to trip into finding the right one.

      I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but Eileen (despite being one of the most avid readers I know, and incredibly creative in all sorts of other ways) picked up the passion more recently.

      It’s an astonishing stroke of good fortune for me that she did!

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  14. robena grant says:

    What a great post. Thanks for sharing. I’m impressed with how well you work together and what strengths each of you brings to the others work.

    My CP is twenty years younger than I am, still in the workforce whereas I’m retired, and she keeps up with modern technology and I use a cell phone with large numbers so I can see them without glasses. : )We exchange a chapter a week, then do a straight through prior to sending our manuscript out to beta readers. I remind her about plot/conflict, she reminds me to dig deeper into the emotional aspects of the main characters, and she checks my dialogue to make sure it isn’t too old fashioned. She writes category romance, I write single title romantic suspense or contemporary. I think we work well together.

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      That sounds fabulous! And a chapter a week! That must keep you on your toes.

      Beta readers….now that process is still a mystery to me. I’d love to find some of those!

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  15. Great post, ladies. Your relationship is something to be admired on many levels. I’m actually jealous, since I’m another writer who doesn’t have a CP. Lucky in love, not so lucky in finding a CP.

    Hey, Eileen, I didn’t realize you were with VF. I hope to visit the chapter soon.

    Good luck, ladies. You’re going to have a freakin’ blast in CA. I wish I could be with you. ;>(

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  16. Gwyn says:

    You two are amazing. I love my sisters, but I could no sooner work with the one with whom I shared a room (littlest sis showed up right after my 13th birthday) than fly to Anaheim by flapping my arms! As the elder, you’d think I’d be the organized one, but I’m a pantser through and through (perhaps a residual of being responsible for keeping peace and other feats of derring-do while juggling the needs of so many siblings). My sis, while not Felix to my Oscar, is much more planning oriented so has been blessed with orgainizing all our family picnics and such.

    So I thank heaven for Laurie. Our writing couldn’t get much different. She’s so pragmatic. I tend toward the abstract or esoteric. She calls me on it every time.

    Good luck with your quest to become a plotter, Elisa. I tried numerous times to no avail. It’s just not my way. Accepting that freed me, to a degree, but hasn’t helped the frustration factor one iota!

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  17. What a fun and fantastic interview, ladies. I’d rather stick pine cones in my eyes than let my sister critique my MS. But she’s also not a writer, and doesn’t really read romance, so there ya go. 🙂

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  18. So cool to see your edited pages! I think it’s wonderful that you are CPs as well as sisters. What a great extra bond to have!

    My CP always tells me like it is. She’s dead on without being brutal and bruising my tender little heart. 😉 I couldn’t do this writing gig without her!

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    • Don’t you love that combination: dead-on without leaving bruises?!

      When I make suggestions to writers who’ve asked for edits, I do my darndest to leave constructive criticism. I try to explain why I’m making the suggestion. I think that’s where I’m most helpful. Show a writer that they’re doing too many close-up moments, for example, and not enough wide shots, and you get them to see that about their work *before* they send it off for edits.

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  19. Elizabeth Kelley says:

    I have the most fabulous, gracious, kick-me-in-the-butt CP, and I love her dearly. My writing wouldn’t be where it is without her encouragement, her big red pen, and her fabulous ability to help me see where my writing can be better.

    The best visual she ever gave me is to know where the camera is…is the scene a wide-angle shot or in-close and personal scene. This provided clarity for my writing.

    I am so, so lucky to have wonderful people in my life, especially Ms. Emerson, who is going to set the world on fire, as soon as she gets her butt in the chair….hint hint.

    Sending you both such big hugs for being brave enough to put your writing out there. See…showing your writing isn’t as scary as being on a stage with your pants pulled down. That fear is only imagined.

    Wishing you both, all the best in California!!!

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Ah! So she caught that in your work too.

      It really is a great piece of advice!

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    • I’ve earned my ogre mug for good reason, my dear. And you’re the one who’s been gracious; letting me stick my fingers into your chapters and make so many mark-ups.

      Yeah… that “filmic” view of a scene is something that I brought with me from my acting days. Understanding where each character is in the room and how they’re relating to each other physically is something that can make a scene either sink or swim for me.

      I will be forever grateful that you formed our push group — it’s been incredibly gratifying to see all of us step up to the plate and start knocking them out of the park!

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  20. Meg Kassel says:

    Wonderful post, ladies! I loved the pdf. of your critiqued pages. What insight! You’re both very lucky to have one another! I’m looking forward to meeting both of you next week at RWA!

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Really, truly, I wish we could have found examples of pages with more in-depth line edits….we do a LOT of those too. It’s hard to capture all the components on one random page.

      Looking forward to meeting you too!! YAY, Firebirds!!!

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  21. Kate Parker says:

    Congrats to both of you, and good luck in Anaheim.

    My crit partner, Merry Simmons, is fabulous because she always spots my unpolished, too short prose, and never gets excited when I tell her to tighten up her writing. Maybe the secret to good critiquing is to find someone with your opposite writing style and with a wonderful personality.

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Sounds like you’ve got a very similar dynamic going on!

      Yes, being opposites in some ways is crucial, but so is having some core vision in common.

      We really did get lucky!

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  22. Tammy Baumann says:

    Wonderful post Eileen and Elise. Loved seeing the comments on each other’s work.

    I have two cp’s you Rubies all know, Darynda and Shea. Darynda lives about 4 hours away by car so we exchange things on-line. And I’ll tell you this, she read my GH MS in one night, wrote back and said, “This is THE ONE!” ;0)

    Shea, Robin Perini and Louise Bergin live in town and we meet weekly. I’d heard rumors of how tough those ladies were but I gladly signed up to be a part of their group. They ARE brutally honest, much more so than you two are from what I read above, but I knew that going in. I wanted to learn from these women who have all been GH finalists, three even winning, and are all pub’d.

    I’m the slacker in the group. But when I told my CP’s I’d finaled in the GH last March, I think they walked around smiling as much as I did on that call day. We are truly best friends and I love all four of my CP’s dearly. I would not have become a GH finalist without them, it’s as simple as that. And…they’ll probably never let me forget it! ;0)

    Can’t wait to meet you guys next week!

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  23. Nikki McIntosh says:

    How did I not know you guys were sisters!!??!! Holy cow, that’s cool!!!

    I LOVED your post … so interesting to see how opposite you are … and yet you seem to work together so well. Loved that you actually included the comments (and the writing was great by the way).

    I have 3 great CP’s/therapists … we’ve worked together for a few years now so we’re over the “I hope this isn’t too harsh” hump … and we all seem to pick up on different things so it works well.

    Great job guys – can’t wait to meet you in person!

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Thanks, Nikki!

      Yeah, wait til you see us together. It’s pretty obvious we’re sisters then….even though I’ll be the one spilling coffee all over myself and running back for something I forgot in the room. (Eileen’ll be the one with all the First Aid supplies in her purse.)

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  24. I like that you two are so different! My sis and I are the same. Good luck with the GH!

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  25. Congratulations, Elisa and Eileen! Shall we call you The Sister Act? It’s obvious you both know how lucky your are to have a sister who shares your passion. Can’t wait to see you both in Anaheim!

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  26. Prisakiss says:

    I loved reading your interview (it’s fun hearing your voices and getting to know your personalities). Even cooler was getting an example of your line edits.

    I’m a plotter– I really need that outline and scene ideas to get going for fear that without them I’ll write my characters into a corner or around and around in circles. 🙂 Eileen, I’m gonna have to google the Plot Whisperer you recommended.

    My sister isn’t a writer, but she’s an avid reader, so she gets my pages/manuscript as a beta reader. Funny, my dad is an avid romance reader as well, but he’s too biased. He’ll read my book and just say it’s fabulous. That’s not much help when I’m in need of feedback. But it does soothe the ego a bit. 🙂

    I’m so excited to meet you guys in person next week in Anaheim. It’ll be fun to see the sister dynamic in action. I have a great relationship with my sister, and think it would be incredible if she were a writer, too, so we could work together like you guys do. What a blessing for you guys to be able to share in something that you love so much!

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Thanks for coming over, Pris!

      Oh, yes, my characters find themselves written into corners all the darned time. And then they do the most inconvenient things getting themselves out of the corners again.

      Sometimes my head just hurts looking at it.

      See you in a few days!!

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  27. What a great post! And man, I LOVE that picture of the two of you! 🙂

    I think I’m with Kate Parker from above — I think when CPs have slightly opposite approaches, or strengths, they make each other so much stronger.

    I met my CP in a critique group first (which I highly recommend). We both participated in the group critiques, but we were clearly hitting it off online and were gravitating toward each other. So later, she asked if we could just swap chapters ourselves (we were writing faster than the rest of the group), and we’ve been close CPs for about 3 years now! She writes historical and I write contemporary, but we still work great together. I really don’t think I could’ve done this journey without her!

    Excellent topic, Elisa and Eileen — can’t wait to meet you both in Anaheim!

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  28. For some reason I didn’t know you were ACTUAL sisters! And you’re CPs. How cool is that? I enjoyed seeing a glimpse of the way you critique each other. See you both in Anaheim next week!

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