SCBWI LA's chapter held a "Critiquenic" at the Skirball Center. There, we were placed in groups of four according to the age-range our stories fell under (YA), and led to a patio area partially surrounded by these beautiful lotus flowers. As always, I love discovering the creative minds of others. We all had different genres: historical fiction, contemporary, sci-fi and mine, magical realism. This made it interesting. We read out-loud the first five pages, then we read it to ourselves while writing notes for the author. Next, we verbalized our critique. Once again, I realized that I don't receive well when I'm in the midst of my first draft. It's too raw. Regardless, I did take in most of the notes given, and spent the next day rewriting those first five pages. Like the Lotus flower, I'm working my way up through the mud and murky water to eventually, bloom.