Thursday, September 29, 2011

Critiquing Part II

Hi everyone! I hope you’all are doing great and being more productive than ever with your writing!

Fall is finally upon us. Even down here in ‘swamp’ country we are getting a break from the heat. Too bad we don’t get to enjoy all the beautiful fall colors you northerners will experience in the fall. Oh well, as long as the 90 degree weather goes away, I’ll be happy.

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about whether or not the ‘silent’ critique was of any value. This week I found a fantastic break down of the different kinds of critiquer’s there are and so I thought I’d just continue on with that subject.

I thought it might be interesting to some of you to read this fantastic article I found on Making The Most Of Criticism. Just click on the following link to read the article. This blog has all kinds of other wonderful tips on writing as well. In this particular article, I thought the author captured the different types of critique’s just perfectly and has proven to me that we as writer’s, really need a little bit of all these styles.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

WHAT HAVE YOU ACCOMPLISHED THIS SUMMER?

A great thing happened to me this week. A fellow writer gave me the Liebster award! Woo hoo. I’d like to thank Ruth Schiffman for thinking of me for this award. Now I’m happy to nominate five more worthy blogs to pass it along to. The goal of this award is to spotlight upcoming bloggers who currently have less than 200 followers.

The rules of this award are:


1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all - have bloggity-blog fun!

So my picks for this award are:

Cat’s Blog, The World Crafter’s Inkspot http://www.katrinadelallo.blogspot.com//
Angels of Inspiration, http://www.angelsofinspiration.blogspot.com/
Stacy S. Jensen’s blog, http://stacysjensen.blogspot.com/
Marie’s Poetic Bloomings blog, http://poeticbloomings2.wordpress.com/
Legacy's Blog http://onceuponatimelegacydevine.webs.com/apps/blog/entries/show/8321530-believable-fantasy

Congratulations to all these well deserved bloggers!

Being nominated for this award couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’ve been feeling a bit depressed and stale about my writing accomplishments this past summer. When I set my goals at the first of the year, I sure intended to have more things published by now so I’ve been quite hard on myself. So I went back into my submissions spreadsheet and discovered I just don’t have much out there at present.

Then I saw a post from a fellow writer (Kelly Hashway, yey Kelly) where she just announced that in the next two years, she will have seven books published!! When I read that it was like getting shock treatment.  Seven books published!!! First off I truly congratulate, Kelly, because that is absolutely awesome. Secondly, I have to thank her for opening my eyes to the fact that I simply must get on the stick and dig myself out of whatever “funk” I’ve gotten myself into and submit more stories! I keep reminding myself that you can’t get published if you don’t submit so Kelly’s news just opened my eyes to that fact once again. Therefore, I hopped right up, polished up a few stories I had on hold, and got out four more submissions.

So I’m feeling much better today. I feel like I’m back on track after a long summer of being in a writing slump. Although I haven’t actually written that much this summer or submitted much, I have been busy. I had my first picture book published, had three readings and three book signings, and have another book signing scheduled in October. I’ve signed up to attend a book workshop in Baton Rouge in October and another one in New Orleans. I convinced a local gift shop to carry my book, sold numerous copies of my book to friends and co-workers. Done several interviews on other authors and had several interviews on myself.  And I signed up for the advanced ICL course and am ready to begin my third assignment.

Other things on the horizon for me are:

  • Today thru Saturday, you can go on the “Read For Relief – a writing community auction to find Hurricane Irene relief” website at http://readforrelief.blogspot.com/2011/09/day-4-item-2-signed-copy-of-pea-in.html  to bid on an autographed copy of The Pea In Peanut Butter plus a doggy bag containing a bookmark, magnet, stickers, reading journal, and some goodies from Louisiana. You can also bid on other items like free query critiques, or 50 pages of a manuscript critique. 
  • A popular website called Peas and Thank You is going to be posting a review of my book. I’ll announce it when it comes out.
  • The CBI Clubhouse will be posting an interview with me in their December issue.
  • On October 10, Raphaels Village, an online children’s magazine, will be publishing my story The Not So Lady Like Ladybug.
  • In February, 2012 Stories for Children will be publishing my story One Measly Pillow.

So I guess I haven’t done so bad this summer after all. What have you accomplished this summer? Do you have anything on the horizon? I’d love to hear about it!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

WHAT GOOD IS A "SILENT" CRITIQUE?

Finally, a cool down here in Louisiana!! Yippee, however it will be ending almost as quickly as it got here. It’s been in the low to mid 80’s for the last week, due to tropical storm Lee. We received 4 days straight of down pours but it was worth it. The weather is gorgeous here right now but by Monday, reality comes back to bite us and it will be back in the 90’s. I know all you northern bloggers say you would trade weather and trust me, if that were possible, I’d hit that “transfer” button right now. But since it’s not, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the next few days and then I’ll get back to griping about the hot.

Ok, back to the business of writing. If you are a serious writer, than you’ve read all the research that tells us to join a critique group or two. I do strongly agree with this theory. I belong to two of them and at one time belonged to three.

Not only do critique groups get your work out there, they give you confirmation that either you can do this or you can’t. If you have a strong enough drive and find that you enjoy it as much as you thought you would, then a critique group will keep you writing and studying your craft. You can learn so very much if you are in a good group. You also can meet all kinds of wonderful writing peeps.

But how do you find one and how do you find a good one? What qualifies as a good group?

To find a critique group all you really have to do is search the internet. There are tons of organizations that offer you help on finding a group. Also, if you take any kind of writing course or go to a writer’s workshop, they can also direct you in the right path.
To find a good critique group, you first need to define what type of group you are looking for. What would benefit you the most?

1.       A group where all the members are buds and just write for the fun of it?
2.       A group filled with people that don’t want to hurt each other’s feelings therefore, they tend to love everything everyone writes?
3.       A group where the writers are serious about their craft and believe in honesty when critiquing but also believe in doing it tactfully? They truly want to help themselves as well as others.
4.       A group that holds nothing back and is brutally honest. They don’t care whose feelings they hurt as long as they get their point across? They think their word is gold.

To be honest, a group that combined all four of those criteria would probably be perfect! However, that would be quite hard to come by.  

I’ve been in the No. 4 group where they were brutally honest. So much so that they didn’t care how they came across or who they crushed. They just said it like they saw it and gave the writer absolutely no hope for their story. I have to admit, I was one of those crushed writers. I did give them a piece of my mind and told them good critiquing did not need to be hurtful; it should always be done tactfully and still give the writer some hope. They didn’t care. I have to admit that after being crushed and very upset for a few days, the critiquers’ words did make me want to try even harder. His words made me determined to prove him wrong. However, I have never sent in another story. I have since been published, however.

One of my groups at present, although I haven’t had time to participate in a couple of months, falls in a little bit of No. 1 and a lot of No. 3. I have been so fortunate to have found them and I have truly learned a ton from all of them.

What if you were in a group where one member fit into the No. 2 category? This member never says a thing about the other member’s manuscripts and very rarely makes a single suggestion. Just says, “Good story, good luck,” basically. Now I ask you, how does that help? My answer to that is “it absolutely does not help. It’s nice to hear, but when that’s all they ever give, then it ultimately means nothing.”  In fact, after awhile, it would make me not want to say a single thing about their manuscript either. That kind of critiquing shows me that member is not serious about helping any of the other members.

So my question to you is, what would you do about that member? Would you speak up to the team lead and let them know how you feel in hopes that that member would be replaced with someone who is serious about critiquing? Why have a member who is not beneficial to the group? Or would you just remain quiet and not let it bother you? And most importantly, how would you describe your own critiquing skills?

Oh and you might be interested in checking out Ruth Schiffmann's blog. She is giving out some great giveaways. Click on the link to take a peek:
http://outonalimbshywritergoessocial.blogspot.com/2011/09/burried-treasure-book-giveaway.html?showComment=1315493342119#c3008355172513674782