Bilbo vs Frodo

I have always preferred The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Consequently, I’ve always preferred Bilbo to Frodo, but it is only recently that I’ve been able to figure out why this is so. I was watching the Hobbit on HBO, refreshing my memory in preparation for the next installment coming out soon, and one scene struck me as a pivotal moment for Bilbo. He’s invisible, having just escaped from Gollum and the goblins, and he overhears Thorin saying Biblo has probably deserted them and run back home—that’s why he’s missing. Bilbo could do that. He could leave at that point and go back home. He’s invisible and they would never see him. He knows Thorin has always doubted him. He’s no hero and he’s not a thief. He feels out of place and floundering. The dwarves are so strong and good at what they do and Bilbo feels like all he knows how to do is live a quiet life and tend his garden. But it’s at that point that he choses fully to commit to the quest. When he first decided to join them it was more from a sense of adventure and fun. But this time he truly wants to help them. He takes off the ring and reveals himself. When asked why he hadn’t left he tells Thorin that he’s right. He misses his home. He misses his books and his garden. That’s where he belongs. And that’s why he had to come back. They (the dwarves) don’t have a home. Someone took it from them. But he will help them take it...

Critique Groups

We had our critique meeting last Friday and it was bitter sweet. The sweet was reviewing Lisa’s manuscript which was such a fun read. “Slacker Nanny Falls in Love” is sure to find a home. The voice is pitch perfect. Of course we had a few suggestions—nothing is ever perfect. But I hope my next manuscript gets a similar reaction. I won’t have much rewriting to do if it does. The bitter part of the meeting was saying good-bye to Sean McCollum. The rat is moving to the Virgin Islands. Really, Sean? You have to move to paradise and abandon us right before winter? And while we are happy that he has this opportunity, we’re going to miss him so much. Getting the right mix of people in a critique group is so important. Having a bad member can really upset the balance. My group once seriously discussed disbanding and reforming so that we didn’t have to tell a member that she was toxic and we wanted her to leave. To avoid that that kind of situation, here are some things to consider if you are starting or looking for new members for a critique group: Are you working at your craft? If so, how much have you written? (You need to determine where this person, or the group, are on their writing journey. Are they beginners? Intermediate? Are some published? Is it a mix?) Ideally, you want a  mix. If you are a beginning writer and the group is full of published writers it may not be the right one for you. They may demand more of you...