Big Slick

BIG SLICK, by Eric Luper
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Coming Fall 2007

Next to my own publication journey, the most exciting part of my writing life over the past year has been watching this novel grow from a 1500 word short story idea into a gritty and compelling novel about a teenager flirting with the addictive world of high stakes poker. BIG SLICK is the debut young adult novel of my friend and critique partner, Eric Luper and you should all buy it the moment it becomes available. I am serious … it is a great read.

Eric and I met in the “Manuscript Exchange” area of the SCBWI discussion boards. This was several years ago, long before folks over there started posting entire manuscripts online. (Do they realize that anyone willing to fork over $60.00 can visit that board? Critiques from the mouths of trusted colleagues can hurt … those from the fingers of anonymous strangers can kill. At least that is my humble opinion.) In any event, Eric posted a rather snotty advertisement for a manuscript exchange … I seem to recall it included the words: “no fluff please.” I’m not the fluffy type, so I offered to critique his work in exchange for honest feedback on my own manuscript. We swapped manuscripts, traded critiques, and parted ways. Several months later, however, when another writer friend and I decided to start our own online critique group, we asked Eric to join us. We three have been working together for two and one-half years now, and it has been a most productive union.

So, if you are interested in writing books for children and young adults, check out the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. If you visit their online manuscript exchange, beware of open critiques, demand “no fluff”, and hand-pick some compatible folks to work with. If you are lucky, you will find the perfect critique partner. If you are very, very lucky, s/he will teach you a thing or two about craft. If you are truly blessed, you will witness the emergence of a new star.