FOLLOW MY MANUSCRIPT! Chapter 6: The Critique

At certain stages in life, if you're really, really lucky, you might come across a great teacher or mentor who truly helps you better your work and your self. Someone who can open your eyes to new possibilities. Someone who can cut to the core of what isn't working, and make you excited about fixing it. Someone who encourages, nurtures and challenges you. Someone who cares about craft and quality and helping you achieve your dreams. Maybe you met them in grad school. Maybe it was grade school. Or maybe it was at a conference on a warm Friday afternoon in August of 2011...

That's when I met Esther Hershenhorn. Hailing from Chicago, Esther is an Illinois Regional Advisor Emeritus, authors picture books and middle grade fiction, teaches Writing for Children at the University of Chicago's Writer's Studio and the Newberry Library, and is a master writing coach. Our brief 20 minutes together at the conference were a total blur. But in that time, I was absolutely floored by the care and attention that Esther had paid to Beetle and the Dung Ball.

Sorry, I won't share it all right here and now! There's just too much to digest. From the slightest details to the grandest over-arching analyses, Esther sent me off with such excitement and hope for the future of this story! She even opened my eyes to directions I'd never even considered. But beyond the wealth of dead-on editing points, brilliant insights and expert writing advice, Esther reminded me that the journey is the reward. So, as Beetle rolls his dung ball, so too will I. Rolling, rolling, rolling ever closer to our destinations. And making good friends along the way.

Next time...
Chapter 7: New Possibilities