We all have them: Subjects that fascinate us. Topics that we can’t get enough of. Areas that grab our interest whether we’re browsing headlines, blogs or twitter – or overhearing a snippet of conversation. If you will read anything on a subject, click any link that deals with a subject, and if you feel compelled to write on a subject, you are probably OBSESSED. Obsessions haunt, possess and preoccupy us. And the sad truth is that not everyone around us shares our obsessions (can you believe it?!)
So that’s where critique groups come in! They have to read and discuss everything you write about your obsession! There is no way out! Ha, ha, ha (evil laugh here).
Someone asked me recently how I became obsessed with volcanoes.
“Me? Obsessed with volcanoes?” I was truly puzzled. I read about and write about a lot of topics.
“Uhm, don’t you have like three volcano books?” she said. “Writing three books about a topic constitutes an obsession.”
Oh! You mean THAT obsession. I didn’t think it was the right time to tell her about idea I was developing for a fourth volcano book…
So yes, my name is Elizabeth Rusch, and I’m obsessed with volcanoes. And if you didn’t know better, you would think every single Viva Scriva was obsessed with volcanoes, too. They must be, or why would they so gracefully and enthusiastically read draft after draft of book after book?
That’s why critique groups are such wonderful, safe places to share your obsessions. There is an unspoken code: If you let me explore my obsessions, I’ll let you explore yours.
Obsessions can become contagious. We Scrivas tend to get interested in each other’s obsessions. I will always scroll through the cool historical photos emailed by historical fiction writer Scriva Nicole. I find myself reading, rather than passing over, articles on the violence in Brazil’s favelas after critiquing Scriva Addie’s gripping YA novel Essa Vida. And I couldn’t wait to learn how to shoot a bow and arrow when Scriva Amber, author of the middle grade novel Archer, pulled hers out at a retreat.
But here is the reality: Nobody in the group is anywhere near as obsessed with volcanoes as I am. Their enthusiasm is most likely one part shared-obsession and nine parts generosity and graciousness.
For their generosity and graciousness, I am truly grateful.
On June 18, Houghton Mifflin released my second volcano book, Eruption: Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives.
And August 1, Charlesbridge will release my third: Volcano Rising.
Volcano Rising is dedicated to the Viva Scrivas. Thank you for sharing my volcano obsession – or at least indulging it. You are the very best Enablers 🙂