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Archive for the ‘critiques’ Category

 

 

 

 

Please forgive me for my lack of blogging these past few months, but I’ve fallen in love, with editing my novel. Of all my 2011 intentions, editing was the one that filled me with the most fear. I faced all the other intentions head on. I’m still making them a conscious part of my life. Polishing my stories, a very necessary tool for a writer, filled me with dread. Last year I faced the typing monster, this year, editing.

 

But first, let me back up and tell you how I fell in love.

 

The moment when it all coalesced was at Norwescon this April. I was nervous through the entire conference leading up to my feedback session with The Fairwood Writers Workshop. My appointment was on the last day of the conference. I was sure they would say, “Don’t quit your day job.” Which, of course, is too late, I write everyday, all day. Writing is my dream job.

 

The feedback session was held in a tower room of the Doubletree. It seemed fitting that I would meet my fear in a tower room, since I submitted a fairy tale fantasy.

 

Four published authors, of various genres, gathered around a conference table to discuss my writing. Each person got ten minutes of uninterrupted time to voice their feedback, ask questions, and make comments.

 

The first author told me to keep in mind that this wasn’t his genre. It was quite a shock to my system when he finished and I wasn’t boiling in anger or near tears from the pain. This continued around the table with the next author and then the next. I took notes. Wonderful detailed notes, questions about my world that I hadn’t considered, structure tweaks, and publisher information. Yes, publisher information, markets I should check out and submit my work. They each gave me written feedback as well that included notes in the margins and on the backs of my pages. Each one of them gave my story attention.

 

I left the session energized and eager to get back to work, extremely thankful that I wouldn’t need the box of tissue waiting for me in my car or the pint of ice cream in the freezer at home to console me. My feet hardly touched the ground as I went to my next 2 panel discussions. I was accepted as a writer. I was taken seriously by strangers. Yes, my novel needs polish, but the feedback was delivered in an uplifting way, and these four published strangers encouraged me to continue on this path.

 

I faced the editing fear. Next fear on my list, you guessed it, submitting it to agents and publishers.

 

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into the fire...

My grams used to love to say that phrase when life was speeding by and that is exactly how the past few months have felt. Just as blurry as the photo above!

I finished up NaNo in November with a little over 180,000 words. It is the first time I’ve Nano’d two complete novel drafts. Then right around the corner, Norweson was waiting.

Norwescon is ‘The Northwest’s Premier Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention’. The Fairwood Writer’s Workshop is where you can enter an excerpt of your novel to be critiqued by professional writers during the April convention. The deadline was December 19th. The submission package must contain a cover letter, synopsis (1000 word limit), and an excerpt of your novel. I spent many sleepless nights writing and re-writing to submit the best possible example of my writing. It was emailed off and I’ve received confirmation that it was received. I hope and pray it is my very best work. Time will tell.

This past week I wrapped up the year for Eastside Author Chat, the writing group I organize. It is an amazing group of writers and I feel lucky to share the writing journey with them.

Only a handful of days left in 2010. In those days, a lunar eclipse, Christmas and New Years Eve. I have my 2011 goals sketched out and I will be solidifying them in the next few days.

I’m looking forward to the ‘Fire’ of 2011 and all the new writing experiences, (writing conventions, agents, synopsis writing, even rejection letters!) the year has waiting for me.

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Recently, I bared my soul to my writing group, and once again started the process of giving and receiving feedback. It is a tight-rope every writer navigates in the process towards publication.

I posted the opening scenes of my ‘Fairy-Tale’ on our group board and held my breath as the members read my story. Initially I created the story, to fill in some gaps for myself while I was world building. Every lost and mysterious world has myths and legends. Who hasn’t heard tales of Atlantis or Shangri-La? So my world, Chamoura, needed some myths and legends of its own.

Around the table at Starbucks, we took turns, reviewing what each of us had offered up. Eventually it was my Fairy-Tale’s turn for feedback and I did my best to sit back and take it all in. I lead this group so I didn’t want to be the cougar mama defending her cub. One member said he hated the main character and wished he had been murdered in the first scene. Someone else liked it. As I sat there listening to the lively conversation over the table, I actually surprised myself. These characters must have struck a chord for such a reaction. I wasn’t handed a list of typos and grammar issues with the ‘nice job’ and a ‘See you next time’ dismissal.

Just as I tell the other members of the group, my suggestions on your work are yours to do with as you wish. If they don’t work, then ignore them. And, I get that option as well. Did the feedback have validity even though it stung? Yes. Did my inner critic go on a tirade about what a lousy writer I am and I should quit? Nope. When I first started my inner critic’s voice was louder and had more emotional weight.

Today, I know that I can not please everyone that reads my work and I do not want to even try to do that. I have to remember that each reader comes to my story with their own filter they read through. That filter is their life experiences, beliefs, memories, and values. Each person is going to see my characters through that filter.

I find value in the feedback, all the feedback. It may sting, but it also pushes me to be a better writer than I was yesterday. All good writing is in the RE-Writing, and I am grateful I have people in my life, ready to offer me the slings and arrows that push my writing to be better!

Thanks to all of  EAC for making me a better writer!!!

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