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Author Blog Challenge – Day 10 Recap

Wow – already 1/3 of the way through the Author Blog Challenge! How are you all holding up? How are you readers doing? Wishing you were on the other side of the computer screen? You can be – just visit the Registration page to get started!

Next up is our Day 10 recap, the prompt for which asks about the participants’ experiences with critique groups. I’ll admit I was a bit surprised to hear a few folks say they’d never heard of critique groups before reading this prompt. Proof positive: people are getting something out of this challenge! I was also a bit bummed out (but not surprised) to hear that some had lousy experiences with critique circles. I’m behind on my posts, but will echo the sentiment that I haven’t had much luck with them … however, I think that may be more because of my own feisty perfectionism than specific problems with the groups I’ve tried.

Onward to others’ experiences … and posts on random non-critique topics, too.

CHRISTINE PELFREY. Are we truly so much lower than our humans? If the vet pricks us with his pointy needle, do we not bleed a drop or two? If you step on our paws, do we not yipe? If you hold steak over our heads, do we not beg? I ask you, my fellow canines, are we so undeserving of a cheeseburger that we have to settle for mere scraps? Or worse, be stuck with measly old kibble?

I’m loving these posts from the dogs’ perspectives! I hear my own dogs’ voices in their words. Did a post recently about how my pets’ personalities mimic reader personalities.

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ALEXANDER CHERRY. Yes, at least I’ve taken classes with fellow writers, which were effectively critique groups. But apart from that I’ve not participated too much – there’s a lot of genre-snobs out there. And after a certain point, it gets wearying to keep looking when it turns out that any group will not care to read: (a) erotica or (b) sf/fantasy.

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KATHI LAUGHMAN. How successful these partnerships will be is dependent upon two basic factors:

  1. The presence of reciprocity between participants. (It is more effective, for example, when writers are reviewing other writers so that there is a common understanding of the craft.)
  2. The clarity of purpose for the work. (There should be a pre-determined review structure so that what needs to be reviewed is, in fact, covered.)

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ANDREW COOPER. My twin and I used to joke that she’s practically a co-author of the book because she’s helped so much with it. She was there when my characters were created, she even created a few herself. She was there when I needed someone to bounce ideas off of. What should happen when So-and-so and What’sherface finally meet? How do they get to Such-and-such-a-place and what happens when they get there? She was also the brains behind nearly half of the brilliant ideas that make my book complete.

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ASHLEY HOWLAND. Blogging from the zoo today; had a great time with the kids. We saw lions, rhino, chimpanzees and lots more. Always fun, taught my daughter to take photos with her camera. Now its time to go home and write a story together. That is exactly why I write children’s books. It’s for the pure joy of reading, writing and sharing.

Click this link to see Ashley’s great photos!

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GEOFF SNYDER. James Archer of Forty Agency released an excellent example of what takes place during a decision making process. He breaks it down in four different categories. They are: spontaneous, competitive, humanistic, and methodical.

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ALANA MAUTONE. I could have given you a lot of answers for the “why” [I don’t participate in critique groups], but a blog post written by Tor Canstantino (not part of this challenge but his writings are well worth reading, in my humble opinion) finally explained why. His post, The One Trait Every Writer Needs, created one of those “a-ha!” moments for me. Tor wrote “..most creatives write from their hearts, losses or experiences – the words are inseparable from the author.” That is so true for me. At this point in time I could not appear before a group, carrying my heart – I mean, my writing – and having people examine it.

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JO HARRISON interview with Kevin Paul Shaw Broden.

JH: If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

KPSB: I probably should have hired a couple of editors, or asked for more beta readers. I know what I’ve done wrong and wish the flaws weren’t there, but still love the story I’ve written and believe it is good. People have told me they enjoy it, so I am happy with that.

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DOROTHY RUPPERT. If I try too hard to make my kids happy and break all their falls, it will backfire. When grown, they will expect everything in life to go their way. Their personal happiness will take priority over everything. If I refuse to let my children learn from failures, they will be unprepared for the harsh realities of the world. They will have difficulty submitting to a spouse, a supervisor at work, or a civil authority because their life will be all about their own gratification. In the long term, they may never find happiness, or they may encounter casualty upon casualty throughout a lifetime in their personal relationships.

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JACKIE BLEDSOE. “Do One More!” That is my focus for this week. Not to leave anything on the table. When I am doing something and I think I have finished, to do one more. One more paragraph read in a book. One more page written. One more task that will add value to my work. One more game of tag with my kids. One more minute during my morning run. One more minute spent with my wife before I leave in the morning.

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TIA BACH. Maybe the movie [Something Borrowed] was a poorly adapted version of the book, which is too often the case with books-turned-movies. Or, maybe I read the book and got swept away. I don’t remember, but I was so annoyed with Dex and Rachel that I wanted to throw my remote at the screen. Did they get together? Yes. Did I want them to? No.

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JEN CHATFIELD. Have I ever participated in a critique group? Have I ever. For a few years I met with a group of 4 total (including me) a couple times a month. One person turned in a story, or an essay, or a chapter and the rest of us critiqued it. I can honestly say I am incredibly grateful for this experience. Not only did it introduce me to three fantastic people, but it taught me how to be a good reader, how to critique, and taught me that dedicated people are essential to the writing process.

Thanks to all who posted!

Laura & Marcie

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The Author Blog Challenge is hosted by Laura Orsini and her alter ego, Marcie Brock, of the Marcie Brock – Book Marketing Maven blog. Please visit Marcie’s blog for loads of great info about low- to no-cost methods of marketing for self-publishing authors.

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