Steps In Between

Celaine Charles ~ My journey as a writer ~ Author site:

Writing Journey; A Stormy Adventure

road trip painting by garth bayley

Art by Garth Bayley

This journey of writing has been exactly that for me, a journey. A magical adventure where any map I thought I was following surprises me with detours around every bend. In the beginning I researched suggested excursions to take along the way. Sites like Plot Mountain and Don’t-look-back-to-edit-until-you’ve-finished-Pass were of great interest to me. I preplanned for those. I also anticipated stops by famous landmarks; Characterization, Point of View, and The Forest of Motivation. What I didn’t expect, though looking back now I should have, was the stormy weather. The unpredictable drops in temperature that cause an unbearable freeze.

As a new writer to fiction, I inferred the roughness of the roads ahead. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and quite honestly, I still don’t. However, I am also an eager and willing student. I’ve taken classes, read advice from other authors, joined several online writing groups, and I continue to follow multiple blogs in hopes of learning and finding support in the craft of writing.


When hope seems lost, I remind myself of my joy and success in poetry. It’s a place that feels like home. It would be easy to turn my car around and head right back to where I belong when my homesickness sets in… when the weather on my fiction-writing-journey takes a cruelly bitter turn. But then that warm flicker of desire crawls up my spine. I feel it when I fall into other fictional novels. Their tales carry me away and inspire the story I have hidden in my own heart. The one that’s itching to see the light and breathe in its own breath of fresh air. I must continue on through every turn of events and with a pirate’s drive, find my treasure.


If you have been following me on my journey, you know I am in the process of rewriting my novel. It was complete at one time. My beta readers found it beautiful, and I loved it. I sent it out and received only seven rejections. I know that’s not enough. It takes a while (and a whole slew of “no’s”) to find the right match. Already knowing this, I decided to rethink my story anyway. Maybe I’m a perfectionist. Maybe I want my first piece of work out there to be my absolute best. And maybe, something about my story didn’t feel right inside, even when I believed it to have been lovely and complete at one time.

Chill in the air or not, it’s time to move on.


So once again, I am off. I shove the keys into my ignition, glance back at my suitcase packed in the back, and pull away down the winding road ahead. I will stay on my journey and work to finish the rewrite I’ve set before myself. I will find new sites to see, and even more; meet new people. I have a sneaking suspicion I may not need to take this journey all alone. It might be time to find myself a critique group.

Until then… Bon Voyage!


Writing Advice: I Need Your Advice AGAIN… Finding A Critique Group

I am on a mission to find myself a writing critique group. This is something I have wanted for a while now, though struggled to find. Initially I wanted it to be in person, with people in my proximity, and with interest in my genre of writing. Perhaps all of those things are not necessary. I know of another writing friend who has four members in her group. All of them write in different genres, and it works for them. Maybe I wouldn’t need to have my group meet in person. I also know of an author who skypes in with her group weekly, most of their members living in different states. They are all successful writers who rarely get to see each other face to face. Both examples prove that critique groups can work even amidst obstacles.

The more I think about critique groups, the more I think about the actual work involved. For me, there is a huge question of trust and feeling comfortable sharing the drafts of my heart with others. As well, I need to consider my ability to reciprocate and honestly complement and critique the work of other group members. I would want this to be a win-win for everyone involved. This means I must actually feel comfortable and friendly with the members of my group – and building trust can take time. How do I overcome that obstacle?

If you can share any ideas or experiences, please message me, or post below how you found your writing critique group. Also, how do things work in your group? What are your procedures or expectations? What problems arise (so that I can be thinking about how to accommodate them when I form my group). What tips work well? Any advice you can offer will be appreciated.

I will get back to providing you with writing advice next week. I am a teacher myself, a writer of poetry, and I have learned much in this world of writing to share. In addition, I love communicating anything I know that may help other writers out there. I am aware today marks two weeks in a row I’ve requested your advice instead of giving it. I suppose you can you tell I am on a serious learning curve in my journey. But then again, I’ve always been a supporter of the saying, “It takes a village…”

Thanks for your help when I need it too.

Celaine Charles, July 15, 2018

Image Links: (road trip painting, Garth Bayley) (journey) (traveling quote) (critique group) (pirate art)

Categories: Thoughts on writing...

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10 replies

  1. Reading this article has sent both chills of fear and tingles of excitement down my spine. I want to be a published author myself though I am not working on a novel now, it’s a screenplay. When I started writing it, I was aiming for a novel but I ended up with a screenplay.
    I don’t have advise to offer but all I can say is don’t give up.
    This is just a suggestion; why don’t you ask a handful of the members of the writing group to form a critique group?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve thought about that. But so far, we all seem on very different parts of our path. And we’re all so far away. Several of the members are in Ireland. It’s crazy. I’m working on it, though. And thanks for your support. I’m not planning to give up. I just can’t. 😊 Good luck to you on your screenplay. Let’s continue cheering each other on. It’s important to stick together. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This brought tears to my eyes. I’ve been feeling completely unmoored, unable to write most of the time, and when I do, it’s so much more work than it was a year ago, two years ago. I had two magical years, and now everything seems flat and uninspired. However, this morning, I think I’m going to write a piece about writing called “Going Back to Jane.” It’s just a vague idea right now. I’ll see where it goes. Thank you for being here at this critical time in my writing journey, a stormy adventure after a lot of smooth sailing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My best wishes are with you. It’s true, all the ups and downs of creating. It’s quite a rollercoaster of emotions and motivation and insight. Even when we know it will happen. Keep sailing… ⛵️⛵️⛵️


  3. I’ve also looked into finding a critique group. I’ve checked out a few sites like Critters and Scribophile, but I don’t really like the way their systems work. I don’t want to feel like I have to critique a certain number of chapters regularly, and I don’t like critiquing random chapters of different stories. To me, you can’t give an accurate critique by starting in the middle. I would rather find a story I like and read the whole thing, and have someone read and critique my whole story. Anyway, I’ll keep in touch with you and let you know if I find a something I like. Just keep working at it and don’t give up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, I would like something more casual and personal than a site. I would probably do better with reading smaller portions at a time, myself. That’s only because I have so much I’m balancing. But ultimately at the end I would want to read the whole story. I do think it will take a while to find a perfect match for all of us.


  4. I have been writing journals since 1976. I have 50 or more. Poetry, story, ideals and memories. For us, who love to write. The journals are helpful. We can find places we forgot. It is funny how much we change. Young man and old man words. Very far apart. I love your work. I need to read, to write.

    Liked by 1 person


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