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Our October Author Interviews--10/4 Wendy Tyson, 10/11 Marilyn Levinson, 10/18 Earl Javorski, 10/25 Linda Lovely. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.
October Saturday Guest Bloggers: 10/7 Mark Bacon, 10/14 Elaine Orr, 10/21 WWK's Margaret S. Hamilton, 10/28 Kait Carson, and E. B. Davis 10/31 to fill out our fifth Tuesday.
WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla! Look for Carla's blog this month to find out the winner.
Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:
Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.
Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.
In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.
Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Critique Groups-Part 2
Of my two short story groups, one is much more active than the other. I joined these critique groups in January. Since that time, I now have two publishing credits to my name. The first, I announced recently when an ezine published my short story, “Daddy's Little Girl.” This week, I received notice that my short story, “Implicated by a Phrase” won a contest for inclusion in an anthology called A Shaker of Margaritas: Hot Flash Mommas. Scheduled for publishing in time for the holiday gift giving season, this anthology will appeal to the middle-age women on your list. My track-record since joining critique groups proves that these groups are very worthwhile joining, if you take the comments of your critique partners seriously.
It’s a known fact and cliché that two heads are better than one. This is the basis of critique groups, a good thing for me. Personally, I don’t “see” my own work. I can look at the page, read a passage one hundred times and don’t see a typo, an incorrect tense, a character’s misspelled name, a homophone (for which I am famous, writing isle for aisle, quite confusing for the reader), etc. The list is endless. Critique partners are essential for me. Catching these gaffs is only one benefit. As I said last week, editing and critiquing are two very different talents. Luckily, my short story critique groups have astute members who perform both tasks.
Here are a few tips for those of you who have not participated in or are having trouble in a critique group.
Don’t refute a critique partners comments. If you don’t agree with a reviewer’s comments think twice. You may be right, but then, you may be wrong or the reviewer has hit upon a flaw other than those stated. For example, one of my shorts received comments that seemed to contradict. I was stymied and confused. I asked an outside reviewer, one not in the critique group, to go over the piece. She hit upon the problem, and my subsequent changes resolved all of my critique partners’ concerns. The addition of one more scene providing extra information negated some comments and took into account the others. Simple, unless you’re lost.
Remember, there is a reason for their negative comments other than your partners are mean and nasty. They see something that your readers will see and criticize. Getting negative comments privately hurts a lot less than a professional review raking your work over the coals in public. I should be so lucky.
All that being said, a word of caution: Personal relationships among critique partners can cause problems. I received advice once from a partner that just had wrong written in red all over it. I ignored the advice to include extraneous material that would have led to a totally immaterial tangent slowing down the action and eating into a narrow word count. At the time, it never occurred to me that someone would lead me astray purposely, but sabotaging a piece out of spite happens. Beware of jealousy, and be nice to your critique partners!
Thank your critique partners for their time and effort. Completing a critique takes a lot longer than merely reading. Most groups use Microsoft Word Review, track changes, when critiquing. Word’s 2007 version or later has the best review software and takes time to master. Often reviewers read a piece more than once, then go back to edit and post comments. This takes time. Even if you end up ignoring their comments, thank them for the time they devoted to your piece.
If you know your specific audience, let your critique partners know. In “Implicated by a Phrase,” I knew that my audience would be mainly middle-age women. A male in my critique group negatively commented on my inclusion of children in the piece. Knowing my audience, I kept those characters because children are a priority for mothers of any age. You are still the author, not only with the right to reject comments, but you maybe an authority on your subject, making you the best judge in certain situations.
Be prompt responding to others pieces. When a writer is in “mode” having immediate criticism is important. We all go through productive periods when we immerse ourselves in a piece. Keeping that momentum going to re-work, polish and finalize helps enormously. If you are submitting a piece with a deadline, do your partners the favor of telling them of your timing needs. Limiting the review to one or two aspects will enable their meeting your time deadline.
My novel by the chapter group, The Mayhem Gang, is slowly evolving. Next week, I’ll focus on that group and let you know some of the very basic problems I never anticipated.