I've been meaning to start the "crazy people living in my house" series in order to explain how it is I have found these people whom I will refer to often on my blog, in acknoweldgements, etc. Char is the first person I ever shared a house with and all of the signs were there. We barely knew each other. She seemed nice enough and I really needed someone there who could be around during the day.
Having near strangers move into your home is generally considered a bad idea. What if they're totally nuts? Char was and is. First of all, she put up with overworked, undiagnosed insomniac me for months. She would do things like take over the kitchen and cook meals. Then she started reading my fiction. When she read something like 3 iterations of a story that was Really Not Working I sent her an email explaining that she did not have to keep dredging through this stuff. If she was acting out of some sense of obligation, there was no need for that.
Well, that's when I learned the truth. Char once read a forum post by her favorite author thanking said author's friend. The friend, it turns out, is the first reader for all of the author's work. Char decided then that she someday wanted to be that friend to a writer. After all, she has a degree in English from the University of Utah and is a talented editor, literary analyst, and has worked as a technical writer. The moral of this sad precautionary tale that we can all learn from is that she latched onto me, despite the fact that there are many talented authors in the area with bright careers ahead of them who would kill to have their very own Char. She has been subjected to unimaginably bad work ever since.
I don't know what I'd do without her. She's the first reader for most of my stuff, and the polish-up proofreader for anything that I've workshopped through Critical Mass. She read the original draft of my romance novel in something like twenty hours. And, as a former roommate, she's past being polite to me. She'll tell me when my work is awful and give me a detailed list of why. And yet she goes on to read the redraft, and the next thing I write, and the next. This poor woman. That novel I sold would never have had a shot at publication without Char.
So yes, I'm off to finish the rewrite of that short story that I will then sic on her.