“I remember the trembling, nausea, and inability to focus that hit me when I first submitted a chapter to a critique group. That was many years ago. Those symptoms persisted for several years. Despite the agony, I continued to submit chapters and to give critiques on others’ work, because I love torture—no, no, no. Because the advice, comments and observations I received helped me grow as a writer. When I look back at my earlier work, I realize how far I’ve come. I’m not published yet (though I have a novel with a publisher—hooray!) but even when I am, I’ll still want to improve my skills. The need for critiques will never go away.
As a writer of Catholic fiction, I am glad to have writers who share my faith check out my work. My current story, Battle for His Soul, includes the viewpoint of a guardian angel and aims to bring an awareness of the violent spiritual battle going on over each one of us. It is a story to give hope to even the greatest of sinners. The critiques I’ve received since joining CWG Fiction Critique Group have helped me immensely. Members of the group have given me objective opinions on plot, characters, and voice. They’ve recommended stronger wording, caught overused words, and given me a feel for how a reader interprets something I’ve written. This story has sat idle on my computer for so long, but now, thanks to CWG Fiction Critters, I see it going somewhere.” Theresa Linden.
“The Catholic Writers Guild Fiction Critique Group is an answer to prayer. With four young children, it’s difficult for me to connect with a flesh and blood group. I searched around online for years and only recently connected with the CWG group. I am so grateful to have found a place where I can share my work with fellow Catholic writers who not only know their craft but also know their faith, giving me a “safe” place to share my Catholic-themed work. My learning pace has accelerated since joining the group. Not only do I benefit from others’ insights, but I learn from critiquing their work as well. The camaraderie and fellowship is an added bonus.” Carolyn Astfalk
You might want to join the Catholic Fiction Critique group because:
1) The group actually exists, functions and welcomes CWG members.
2) You read fiction anyway. Why not read fiction as a “work in progress?” You’ll still have a chance to influence the end-product, and it’s free. Watch as your name appears in the “acknowledgements” of a host of best sellers.
3) If you read my chapter or short story, I’ll read yours. You can contribute and respond at your own pace.
4) Make friends who can suggest ways to improve your manuscript, to substitute stronger verbs and modifiers, to avoid structural, grammatical and typographical errors. These friends share your vocation, and will encourage your expression of your Catholic Faith.
5) Make friends with an intimate knowledge of your work who can write reviews as you launch your opus.
Battle for His Soul, by Theresa Linden
Jarret West, a rich teenage boy, has been accustomed to having control over others and getting his way. When his life begins to fall apart, his guardian angel Ellechial hopes now is the time for his conversion. Jarret must be freed from the deep clutches of Deth-kye, the demon bent on seeing him in hell. The fate of several others depends upon Jarret’s conversion.
While Jarret gets ensnared in Deth-kye’s traps, Ellechial can provide little help since Jarret doesn’t pray, doesn’t believe, and hasn’t listened to him in years. Ellechial hopes Jarret’s twin brother, who has recently found God, will be able to influence him. But Jarret goes on vacation with his father and younger brother where temptations only increase. Meanwhile, Jarret’s twin and other teens form a prayer group and begin to pray before the Blessed Sacrament unaware of the power they provide the angels. Though Ellechial gains strength, Deth-kye wins victory after victory. His weapons: emotion, vice, and memories. Who will win the battle for Jarret’s soul?
“Rightfully Ours, by Carolyn Astfalk
Sixteen-year-old Paul Porter’s relocation to Pennsylvania is a temporary move during his dad’s deployment. Or so he and his brother think, until devastating news lands on their doorstep. Paul’s new home with the Mueller’s provides solace, especially in the form of Rachel Mueller, his friend and confidante. Their abiding friendship deepens as they work side-by-side to uncover what could be lost treasure. Will they acquire the strength of character and virtue to take only what rightfully belongs to them or are they in way over their heads, with more than a few lost artifacts at stake?
Summoned, by Gary Ludlam
When Father Salvato, an eighth century exorcist-in-training is mysteriously called to his mentor’s side, he finds himself battling alone in an exorcism gone horribly wrong. To cast out this demon and save the lives of both the possessed girl and his mentor, Salvato must untie the knot of sin and dark secrets that give the demon its power. But when the demon reveals that its true target is Salvato himself, Father Salvato must fight to save his own immortal soul.
Warrior’s World – Battle Rejoined by Dennis P. McGeehan
I currently have two books in the works, one a non-fiction work based on books that have received the Imprimatur, entitled The Diaries of Joseph and Mary. It records the events from before the Incarnation until after the Resurrection in the form of diary entries. My second book I describe as the Catholic Faith on Steroids – its title is Warriors World – Battle Rejoined and it is about Spiritual Warfare and the people caught in it. Here is an outtake from it:
Theresa and Maximilian were now trapped in a vortex of primeval hate. The Noshtoc enveloped both beings of light smothering them in a cloak of thick, pungent vapor that burned as it made contact with their essence. He pierced their very being with countless tendrils of darkness, each oozing an acid of hate. His malice exploded inside their psyche, they felt his loathing for them, for humans and for the entire created universe because it did not serve him and him alone. He bathed them in a cacophony of sounds that pounded and pulsed and threatened to tear them to pieces. They fought back with every fiber of their being but it was as if a lone ant was trying to pick up a Giant Redwood tree, it was not a possibility.
A Few, by Fr. Jim Tucker
I currently have three or four story ideas percolating, including 1) a Catholic Romance, 2) a thriller set during the Occupation of France during World War II. Right now, I’m focusing on a fun serial mystery story in which a down-and-out zoo attendant and a Vervet monkey team up to solve mysteries and try to get out of nail-biting scrapes. A mystery/thriller type of serialized story. I plan to release episodes either on Catholic Flash Fiction or another of my blog sites.
Snapped Mackerels, by Donald J. Mulcare
The mirror-image Mayo twins—the dexterous, well-groomed, and optimistic Tim, and the sinister, disheveled, and gloomy Tom—survived their sub-marginal home situation, only because they thought as one, cleverly bending and breaking the rules and laws on their way to gathering the necessities of life. Their lives shattered when they discovered a vicious murder. Hunted by one or more assassins, their own relationship evolved as they recruited new allies among the two groups they previously shunned—teachers and the police. They morphed their street smarts and urban survival skills into sleuthing strategies to track the killer or killers before the killer(s) trapped the twins.