Just the Facts, Ma'am

Thonie Hevron; bringing you the stories behind the badge




We welcomed a new member to our critique group tonight. Patrice Garrett joined Billie Settles, Andy Gloege, Julie Winrich and myself for a full dance card. Actually, we’re looking at a sixth possibility due to periodic members absences.

When I first joined Redwood Writers Club back in 2006 or so, Christi Phillips, the author of The Rosetti Letter and The Devlin Diaries was the guest speaker at a General Membership meeting. After her talk, she took questions. Someone asked her what would she do differently if she had a “do-over”. Without much consideration, her answer was, “I’d have joined a critique group and gotten the first book done much faster.”

This is why I love my group. They make me a better writer. The call me on phony or stilted dialog, make suggestions when the plot is under-drawn and cheer me on when I need it. Of course, we all do the same thing for each other. I’m not special—this is a group dynamic.

Not all groups are created equally. I was in one in Bishop years ago and my offering was my police thriller in the middle of poetry and literary fiction. I got merciless criticism and left feeling like I should trade in my hobby for stamp collecting. I didn’t return to the group even though I did take a Creative Writing class from the teacher/leader. In fairness to the group, my writing wasn’t very good. The plot was riddled with my personal agenda and the scope of the novel wasn’t well thought out. In short, they were right.

Last Thursday, I put a problem scene to my group. We brainstormed and I walked away with some good ideas. The next day, Andy emailed me a scene synopsis he’d conjured up that was spectacular. I haven’t decided how much I’m going to use from his idea but at least I have a direction. He gave me some solid character quirks to work with and ways to advance the plot.

It doesn’t get much better than that.



2 comments on “Thrillerz

  1. billiepaytonsettles
    March 14, 2012

    Thonie, I finally got some space in my schedule to check out your blog site. I really like it, and will now look forward to checking it often.

    I’m looking forward to our next Thrillerz group for all the reasons you’ve noted, plus, it gives me an opportunity to stretch my social skills – I am learning that the most valuable criticism is sometimes like biting into a lemon: sour initially, but full of the stuff which promotes strong, healthy writing …

    See you at the next meeting!
    Billie Settles


    • thoniehevron
      March 14, 2012

      I’m glad no one ever told me how painful this process can be. I might never have started!


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This entry was posted on February 28, 2012 by in Writer's Notes and tagged , , , .

Cop Talk

For all things about cop culture-the work, the family, the days off.

The purpose of this page is to educate writers of all genres to be accurate in their portrayal of law enforcement professionals. This includes meter maids (I was a "lovely Rita" many years ago), dispatcher, patrol officers, detectives, and administrators.

I have many resources in my 35 year career in California law enforcement. I index and explain common errors that found in all media. Guests will also post about police professionalism today and tomorrow as well as historical articles about the way things used to be, "back in the day".

Examples of police media myths: missing persons cannot be reported by anyone but the family; missing persons reports can't be taken until the subject has been missing 24 hours; all cops eat donuts.

You get my drift.



Just the Facts, Ma'am posts Sundays and Fridays. Sundays scheduled writers Hal Collier, Ed Meckle, Mikey, and John Schick take us through the days and nights of those who protect and serve.
Friday postings feature authors sharing their thoughts about this journey we call authorship.
Extra postings will include California 'Officer Down' notices or something special. I will update progress of my current literary project as they develop.
--Thonie Hevron

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