Friday, June 18, 2010

New Venue!

We are mostly (Trager is still doing double duty with adorable babies) off to Springfield IL for a writers retreat this weekend. Letting our precious work out to a larger world. How long before we do so many revisions that the stories are back the way they were originally? Watch next week for updates on the event and our experineces!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Getting over yourself

When I first started writing seriously. I was naturally scared that my writing would be horrible or that people would hate it. I was very territorial with my writing. It was as if I wrapped my writing in swaddling clothes and kept it close to my chest growling at all who come near. Over time and with every successive rejection and or new book on the world of publishing, I let go of my insecurities and let others read and critique my work. I realized that it can only help no matter how harsh a critique group may be. They were not harsh. (I am lucky because I have heard horror stories.)

The feedback I received has been both constructive and fun to work with. The reviews I get from family and friends has been constructive as well and not all roses and praise. I specifically asked them not to be just nice about it but to be tough on it. Some were tougher than others.

I also know in my heart that the writing can be great but the story can be bland. I am confident by letting others read and critique that my work that what hooks them is the tale. The story takes them away from reality and the words act as a vessel they board to take the journey into my imagination.

In my opinion, the story has to be something worth writing about. All the technical, grammatical, and mechanics of writing should come second to your story. I can say that with feedback one gets help on the mechanics of writing AND story. So seeking feedback is the way to go. Get over yourself.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Gaining a thicker skin...

When I wrote my very first chapter for the very first time (LOL), I let my husband read it. I think I've mentioned before that he was very brave in actually telling me what he thought didn't work. I believe I've gotten much better at accepting critique since that time. In fact, I've actually come to welcome it from my group. I've gotten a lot of good ideas from them on how to make the manuscript better.

The majority of us are attending a writer's retreat next weekend. It is scary, yet exciting at the same time, that another set of writers is going to review my reworked three chapters. Since they haven't read what comes next, I'm looking forward to hearing what they think of the beginning, if that makes sense. It also will be good because, as Ellen wrote, a lot of time friends and family give you an overall, "yes, we like it," without too many specifics. These folks at the weekend are fresh eyes who actually are required to fill out a questionnaire.

Of course, that means I have to fill out theirs too, which is why I am going to keep this short. I've got to get to it!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Looking for Feedback

I respect and rely on my fellow critiquers for their opinions. They are my biggest influence. I've only recently let other people read my work in progress, because it's scary to ask for feedback from friends and family. If they don't like it, I feel that it would reflect on me, they might say, "Oh God, why is she wasting her time on writing." I also needed many rewrites before I thought my work was ready for others outside the safe zone of the critique group.

Everyone that has read my first chapters have been polite and said they liked it. It's funny that I really have to push to get their input on the details. My husband and daughter have been most helpful and free with their opinions. I feel sorry for my husband though, because he doesn't like to read, let alone read a young adult romance. He is supportive, none the less. I value what my daughter says because she is part of the target market. Hopefully soon I can have some of her friends read it, and get their honest insight. I also look forward to the day I feel brave enough to show it to more of my friends who like reading this genre. I almost feel like creating a critique questionnaire for them to answer, but that might be asking too much. If I'm not careful, I won't have any friends left when my book is finished. I'd be like the Mary Kay lady selling cosmetics you really don't want. "Free gift with critique!"

Monday, June 7, 2010


We assume the best feedback comes from our Blog Buds when we meet once a month for critique night. But who else?

My spouse is very kind and gracious - heck he said my sermons were good every single week! So he has figured out his role is to be supportive but not critical.

For that I have to turn to my children. Child A is an artist and writer himself so he is ready to share his opinion on story lines that are too cutesy, rhymes that do NOT work, art that would gag a maggot. Child B is a lawyer.perfectionist and can stop a typo or comma issue that I am waaaaay too close to see.

Lately I am looking to the grandchildren for authentic feedback as well. Can the three year old be spellbound by the "Princess and Too Many Kittens" without having pictures? What does the seven year old really think of the Lizard's Talent Show?

I had a chance to work with Harold Underdown in a workshop recently and his feedback was terrific. The kids, however, are cheaper.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Setting Importante

I just got back from a place that thrives on putting you in different magical worlds and since our fellow blogger is far away in an exotic location. I thought setting would be a fun topic to discuss

One of my main sources of inspiration comes from places or spots in a certain location. There is something so thrilling about being in a new place, familiar place, or traditional spot that we always return to that spurs my brain into idea mode.

Setting can be a tremendously powerful literary device. Our characters react and can be a product of them and as we read we become immersed in new lands, places like Oz, Victorian England, Wonderland, Space, Enchanted Castles, among many many others. I love how books can truly take us there. We can live it within our minds and our imaginations.

What is your favorite setting? Do you like gritty urban neighborhoods, western boomtowns? The list goes on and on!! SO EXCITING!