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Erin Cleary

  • Erin Cleary

Outside Insights

All the years I’ve been writing, I’ve participated in critique groups. These friends have offered support and honest, sometimes painful feedback on what is and is not working in a story. It is critical to get outside insights into something so personal that you can't always see it yourself.

Just yesterday, I had a discussion on Facebook with another writer. I had asked if when a main character narrates the story but doesn't realize what is going on around her (as shown in the art), would she be considered an unreliable narrator? This lead to some philosophical chin scratching about how the narrator of any first person writing could be considered unreliable because it's impossible for anyone to have a complete, unbiased view of any situation.

It's a larger-life thing to ponder, but it is very much true of the writing process. What is inside writer's brain doesn't always make it to the page. We need an outside view to help us see what we can't see.

This brings me to the reason for this post. Here is a great opportunity for you picture book writers and illustrators out there to get some outside insights from a professional author, agent, or illustrator. Check out #PBCritiquefest! Thank you to author Brian Gehrlein for putting it all together. More info at

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