I finished Chapter 14 last night and posted it on the Writer's Digest critique forums for some feedback. I've gotten two responses so far, both positive, which is a relief. I think one of the reasons Chapter 14 was so difficult to write is that Chapter 13 was such a low point, emotionally, for my MC that I wondered just how I was going to have her start digging her way back up to semi-happy thoughts. I didn't want to shrug off what she'd been through, but it's a fine line to have her think about it and not dwell on it excessively. So definitely glad to hear that Chapter 14 seems to work.

I'm not sure how many other authors who ended up getting published used online forums to help with their writing. Probably not many, though I imagine a lot had offline critique groups—which, essentially, are the same thing I guess, just live versus electronic.

I've found the critique forum extremely useful in identifying parts of my story that just don't work the way I intended. In more than one case, comments from other forum members have prompted me to rewrite scenes and sections—but I never change stuff to please them, only to correct something that I agree doesn't work properly. I think that's an important point to remember if you're a writer and you're using forums: it's your story. No matter what other people say, you have the final control over it, and you don't have to change a word if you don't want to. (But then...why would you be posting in the first place?)

So a good tip for forums: All suggestions must be taken with a pinch of salt. And a sprig of parsley.


TOPAZ status: Chapter 15 is a blank page begging to be written, so I'll start on it at lunch. I think it's time Faith met the rest of Jason's crew.