Tag Archives: critiquing

Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop!

Sunday_SnippetsOh Yeah!  It’s the very first Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop!

In this hop, participants post 250 words of their work in progress to be critiqued.  Then everyone hops around to critique others.  Don’t have a post of your own?  We’d love a critique anyway!  And next time you can sign up yourself (see below)

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Okay… Here’s mine.  This is the first 250-ish words of The First Day of the New Tomorrow.  This is very fresh writing.  I’m only about five pages into the story.  This is a Young Adult Urban Fantasy.

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There just wasn’t enough cover-up in the world. Maya blended in the last dab, concealing the tenth new blemish this week, and it was only Thursday. In her next life, she’d be a Bavarian princess with perfect skin.  Yeah.  That’d be good.

She slipped on her bifocals and brushed a few of her dark bangs over the more hideous zits on her forehead and took stock.  The acne she could cover up, but the ugly glasses?

“I wish I didn’t have to wear these stupid things,” she told her reflection.  It smirked.  Even her reflection thought she looked like a geek.  Great.

Maya spun and headed for the door, but banged her head dead center on the doorframe.  The world blurred around her, and she grabbed the wall for support. “Owe.” Her hand shot to her forehead.  Everything still seemed to be attached.

Blinking, she tried to focus.  On all sides, a fuzzy halo bent and distorted the world into a crazy Picasso painting.  Nauseous, she closed her eyes and slid to the floor.

She couldn’t be sick.  She had to go to school today.  She’d studied her butt off last night and refused to miss that stinking History test.

Maya removed her glasses and rubbed her eyes. Blinking hard, she stared at the toilet bowl until it came into perfect focus. He stomach settled.  Better.  Whew! She slipped on her glasses and tried to stand, but the fuzzy haze came back.

“What the…” She grabbed the counter and pulled off her glasses.

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The Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop is on!

Want to join up? Click here for the rules, and leave a comment to have your name added to the list.  The more the merrier!swish swivel squiggle 2

Click on over to these great writers to check out and critique what they’ve posted!

http://mermaidssinging.wordpress.com/

http://caitlinsternwrites.wordpress.com/

http://ileandrayoung.com

http://wyrmflight.wordpress.com/

http://www.mandyevebarnett.com

http://womanbitesdog.wordpress.com/

http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com

https://jennifermeaton.com/

http://richardleonard.wordpress.com

http://jordannaeast.com

http://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com

http://writerscrash.blogspot.com/2013/01/critique-blog-hop.html?showComment=1359314347792#c7304398839545720473

JenniFer_EatonF

I’m back! The blog tour is finally over. (Thank Goodness) – What I learned. And an ebook #giveaway for #FreeFriday #freestuff

Omigosh.  I can’t believe it’s finally over.  This may have been the most painful thing wonderful experience I’ve ever had as a writer and I hope I never have to put myself through this can’t wait to do another one.

I just came off a month-long blog tour.  45 stops in 30 days.  The over achiever in me says “Yes! Awesome! Bring it!”  But the real-person side of me just wants to take a step back and sleep.

So, what did I learn?  A lot.  Would I do it again?

No._00000

Well, at least not in the same way.

Did we get the word out?  Yes.

Did we sell books?  Yes.

Was it worth it?  I’m not really sure yet.

I don’t think I am going to take on a blog tour this aggressively again. Will I be aggressive?  You betcha! But the rest of my life shouldn’t suffer for it.

Before I dig into the things I’ve learned, let’s discuss the result…

Don’t get me wrong, this was not an overall bad experience.  My fear is, though, that I may have lost some of my following because I was not “here”.  That is what is really bothering me.

Soooooo… In the future, I will not be wreaking havoc across the internet for thirty days straight.  I will take it easy so I can still enjoy my life, because I can’t write when I’m stressed, and that just doesn’t work for anyone, does it?

I’m going to cut back a bit on blogging too, so I have enough time for my extensive goals for 2013… but I have some great things planned.

Mondays will be my days for posting about whatever pops into my head… The fun rants on my writing, my world, or whatever.

Tuesdays will continue to be Write a Story with Me, which is still going strong, and new people are signing up.  This has been a HOOT!

Wednesdays and Thursdays I will take off, unless I have a book review or something exciting that I can’t wait until Monday for.

Friday is something brand new I’m going to try out as a gift to everyone who’s supported me through all this.  #FreeFridays will feature a different author every week with a giveaway. They may give away a book, an ebook, chocolate, dogs, cats, whatever. But it’s a chance for them to promote their book, and a chance at a freebee for all those who comment.  Should be fun.  By the way… since this is the first #FreeFriday, everyone who comments today will have a chance to win either For the Love of Christmas or Make Believe on ebook. (your choice)  Yay!

Saturdays will be open to my whims, and I may not always post.  But for the next month I will be featuring the continuation of author/Editor Danielle Ackley McPhail’s advice on the do’s and don’ts of how to submit your manuscript.  It’s great stuff we can all learn from.

Sunday will return to Sunday Snippets, where I will showcase a snippet from my current work in progress, and invite you all to do the same.  It’s a time to share a little, and see what you guys think of it.  I’ve thought of making this a weekly blog hop, but it will be very informal, and I won’t kick you off if you post more than six sentences.  Yeah, I’m nice that way.  If you want to sign up, click here and be sure to hop around to other people’s sites to see their snippets.

Okay!  Now that all of that is out of the way….. What I learned:

A few things to keep in mind when you set up your own blog tours:

1.       Just because a person says they will host you, and you do the interview, doesn’t mean they will post it.  Just say’n.  Be ready for it.  It’s embarrassing to send people to a post and have it not be there.

2.       Confirm, and make sure you get confirmations.  I sent out interviews and sent confirmation emails, but in one instance I didn’t get a response for the confirmation.  Not sure what happened to my emails, but the host never got either, so the post ended up late.  My fault for not following up better on that one.

3.       There will be posts that it seems no one has read.  I try to tell myself that not everyone who reads posts comments. I hope some people read some of those guest posts, because I thought they were pretty good! Try to keep your chin up.  No all stops will look as successful as others, but you won’t know unless the host lets you know the number of hits.

4.       Some tour stops will be AWESOME.  Make a note of those people and become buddies.  Luckily for me, I’m already buddies, so everyone else has to suck up to them J

5.       Scheduling, doing the interview/post, telling people where you are that day, and following up and answering questions on all those other sites is time consuming and exhausting.  Be ready for it. No matter how well you think you have prepared… well, you know how it is.

6.       Don’t forget about Facebook.  I forgot about Facebook.  Oh well.

So, there you have it.  The good, the bad and the ugly – and what I learned through all this monotony.  For the most part, it was fun, and if I were a full time professional writer, and didn’t have another job, a part time job, a poodle that needs to be brushed, three kids with homework and a husband, it would have been no problem.  But for me, I think a more leisurely pace will be the ticket for the next one.

Thanks for sticking with me! And Here’s to an AWESOME 2013!  What do you have on tap for this year?

Don’t forget one commenter below will get their choice of For the Love of Christmas or Make Believe on ebook!

It’s GREAT to be back!

JenniFer_EatonF

Search and Destroy in the Editing Phase

Daily Writing Tips recently had an article explaining bad writing compared to poor writing.  The one part of the article that struck me was the end.

They presented a list which I will admit (giving them total credit) that I copied and pasted below.  I only want to talk about #5, but I am including the entire list, because I think there are a lot of writers out there who can benefit from it.

Here we go:  Total credit to Dailywritingtips.com (If you want to see the whole article, the link is below)

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Here are some tips on avoiding the pitfalls of bad writing:

1. Be Fresh
The purpose of metaphor and simile is to evoke recognition by comparison or allusion. Write these analogies to aid your readers with your clarity of vision, not to serve your ego, and avoid clichés.

2. Be Clear
When drafting expository fiction or nonfiction, record your voice as you spontaneously describe a scene or explain a procedure, transcribe your comments, and base your writing on the transcription, revising only to select more vivid verbs and more precise nouns and to seek moderation in adverbs and adjectives.

3. Be Active
Use the passive voice judiciously.

4. Be Concise
Write tight.

5. Be Thorough
Accept that writing is the easy part; it’s the revision that makes or breaks your project — and requires most of your effort.

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Okay then… end credit to daily writing tips.

(On a side note:  If anyone needs clarification on anything in the list above, let me know and I will do my best to translate.)

Let’s talk about #5.

This is near and dear to my heart, as I have just finished a roller-coaster ride self-imposed deadline of 5,000 words a week to finish a novel in 10 weeks.

I finished my first draft four weeks ahead of schedule, and dropped myself into editing.

Is my story great?  Well, of course it is! It’s my idea and I love it.

Is it well written…

Umm well, it will be.

Now is the tough part.  I need to attack all the sneaky “tell” that slipped in when I wasn’t looking.  I need to describe bronzed skin rather than telling “his skin was bronzed.”

Luckily enough, I have many words to spare, as I ended up short on my word-count target.  I have plenty of room to expand.

Right now, it is “search and destroy” on “Felt” “was” “it” and all those other nasty little tell markers.

I was paying attention this time around, and I tried my best not to have blatant run-on tell passages (as I’ve been guilty of in the past)  which is good, but all of my tell is now “subtle”.  It is the kind that will probably slip past most publishers.  But I don’t just want this to be a good novel.  I want it to be a great one.

Yes, it is this revision process that will make or break this novel.

I am approaching it by not reading for flow yet.  I am just looking for all those “little nasties”.  Once I think I am “nasty free” I will read for flow, and then ship off to betas, trusting them to slap me upside the head for everything else I may have missed.

How do you “search and destroy” during the editing phase?

Road to Publication #5: The Marketing Plan

Today I received one of those big-scary presents from my publisher.  The Marketing Plan.

I don’t know if this calls for a squee or and EEEK!

I was a little surprised by the magnitude of it.  Everyone says writing the novel is the easy part.  Now’s the time for the work.  And this isn’t something you can’t put off.  Anything you do wrong (or right) now can affect how your novel sells.

I have a 20 week marketing plan leading right up until the release date of December 3rd.  20 weeks equates to 50 pages of reading.  Did anyone else just cringe?

The good news is a lot of this I have done already, or have already planned to do and it is on my schedule.  The bad news is, there is a lot of stuff that I haven’t done, and some of it is scary.

It’s time to plow ahead.  The good news is that I can draw on experiences of others, and I am not floundering in the dark.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Writing to a Deadline 15: OMIGOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!

Writing to a Deadline Part 13: Rewriting and resubmitting

Wow.  They were right.

I took out one relationship element, and the rest of the story just fell in line.  I read through my final product and shivered.

Yeah, I actually wrote that…

But that sting is still there… is it as good as I think it is?  Probably not.

Three days until I have to submit.  It’s a holiday weekend.  No one is going to have time to read, right?

This is where friendships you have made come into play.  I looked up every applicable beta reader past and present, and let them know my dire situation.  I even sent it to my very first beta partner… who was nice enough to teach “idiot little me” so much when I first started out (boy did I stink back then)  I haven’t spoken to him in over a year.  You know what?  He jumped on board.

A debut author from the same publishing house I am submitting to saw my plea on Scribophile, and offered to read it.  So did one of my current betas, and my writing buddy who was also in the same boat having to make revisions to her submission for the anthology.

Suggestions come back.  Minor changes.  The last beta to come back arrives five hours before I need to submit.  No pressure.  More minor suggestions.

Make the applicable edits…. And Done.

Funny thing.  I created a PDF, got ready to send, and got a sinking feeling in my stomach.  I checked back on something I had just added that night, and it didn’t flow. Honestly, it sounded HORRIBLE.  I took a few minutes and changed it.  Perfect…. Sometimes, you really need to listen to your gut.

  1. Create a new PDF.
  2. Write up and email thanking the publisher for their suggestions; this is how I used them… yadda yadda… thank you for your consideration.
  3. Attach PDF
  4. Send.

Now the painful waiting process… again.

The deadline has passed.  Whatever happens now, happens.  There is nothing more I can do.

I feel good about it.  I didn’t crack, and I held on to the bitter end.  No matter the outcome, I am proud of this 40 page little gem.  If anything, I proved to myself that I could do it.

What stupid writing error did your Beta point out this week? Beam me up, Scotty!

You need to find a balance.  Really, you do.

While working on my “Writing to a Deadline” piece, I was trying very hard in the first draft not to make any of the mistakes I made in my larger manuscript.

I may have over done it, though.

In trying to make sure that my characters don’t “step” too much, and after hearing feedback from a beta that said “we don’t have to know about every move”—Now at times, my characters don’t move at all.

A new beta pointed out that my characters magically disappear from one spot, and appear in another, with no explanation whatsoever.  Well, obviously they walked.   (There are no Star Trek transporters in my current WIP)

The problem is, I tried to write this story in a way that inferred that they walked… but it didn’t always work.

Now back to editing, and make sure to make them move without stepping around a lot.

Ugh.

Writing to a Deadline Part 12: The Slap of a Rejection

After a week of waiting… Rejected.

Wow.  That stung.  I read the email.  Well, that’s not true.  After the words “Not ready for publication at this time.” I pretty much skimmed it.

Two things stuck with me off the bat.  George was an unnecessary character, and the opening was confusing.  What??????????  George is the catalyst!  Deep breath… don’t scream.

Being a good little camper, I shut down my computer, and walked away.

I stewed over it for a while.  What were they talking about?  How could they say these things?

Then I took my own advice.  It was a nice day.  I got on my bicycle, and just rode.  I thought over those two comments, and cleared my head for an hour or so.  Once I was able to deal with it, I went back to my computer to read it again.

It’s very hard to take your own advice when something happens to you.  I have walked a few people through this very thing, but never myself.  I’ve sent out work before, but they all saved me this heartache by not answering my queries at all.  This time, I got the definitive “No”.

But was it really a no?  I read it again.  It wasn’t a yes, but it wasn’t completely a rejection either.  They gave me a full-page type-written list of areas they thought were lacking in the story.  Someone thought it through, and let me know everything they thought was a problem.

In my own advice to others: “If someone took that much time, they must have seen something in it that they liked.”

I printed out the page, went to my room, closed the door, and read it over and over.  I realized that if I took their advice about the character George, that the characterization inconsistencies that they pointed out with three other characters would just naturally fall in line.

The last line of the email stated:  If you would like to make changes and resubmit before the deadline date, please send the rewrite directly to “********”

Wait a minute… Go past the normal submission channels?  Hop over the other entries right into a special mailbox?

Not quite so much a rejection anymore, is it?  Thank God I submitted two weeks early!

Seven days for a rewrite, taking out a major plot element.

Gotta go…. Got something to do. 🙂

Writing to a Deadline Part 10: Rewrite and Beta Blast

If you’re just hopping into the insanity that is my writing life, check out my previous “Writing to a Deadline” posts or this won’t make sense.

Okay… fixed that climax.  Yeah!  I did it.  Oh no!  Now I am at 10,280 words!

That’s a whole page over!  Ugh!

Edit madness:  Extra word here, extra word there.  Unnecessary clause?  Can I tighten that dialog a little?  Does this person need to smile?  Is that dialog tag necessary?

Okay, I’m done.  Right?  Am I?   ARRRHGHHHH!

Beta Blast!  Call in the two people who the story really seemed to resonate with (Don’t bother with the person who didn’t seem to get it from the beginning)

Sorry, guys… I know it’s a lot to ask… but I need it back in two days.

Wait….  Wait….  Wait….  Tear a fingernail off.  Wait….  Water the plants… again.  Groom the dog… again (not that she’s complaining.)

Then the panic moment happens.  Through a writer’s group, I find out that someone submitted, and got a positive response.  Not an acceptance, but a request to make changes and re-submit through private channels.

Oh No!  There is a possibility that they will close for submissions if they fill all five slots.

It’s okay… take a deep breath.  I decided that I need to submit NOW, even though there are two weeks left until the deadline.

My two betas came back with minor changes.  Of course, while I was waiting I made changes of my own, so I pleaded for one more read.  Yeah, I can be annoying that way.

My worst writing nightmare is that all of these people call in the favor at the same time while I am up against a deadline of my own ***gack***

Okay… their responses come back.

Remove that comma, change that word…

Easy fixes.

Slow and steady.

Writing to a Deadline Part 9: “And the beta-reading verdict is?”

If you’re just hopping into the insanity that is my writing life, check out my previous “Writing to a Deadline” posts or this won’t make sense.

Note:  This post is mainly for those of you who have not yet been through the beta-process.  Just to prepare you for what it can be like.

Last week I sent out my story LAST WINTER RED to a small Beta Army.  And back the comments come…

Three fast “I just read it” responses came back in one day.  “Liked the story” on each of them.  At least that’s a step in the right direction.  Next step… they will go through and make suggestions.

Time to wait again

The professor got back to me noting “Great story” but lack of setting.  Yeah… I’m famous for that.  I only give what’s absolutely necessary.  I’ll think that over.  There was also a small element that she thought was lost in the middle.  Easy fix, but it will put me close to the word count.  She was also totally engaged and drawn in by my beginning. Yay!

Critical Beta Reader #1 comes back, and hates my beginning. She didn’t mention lack of setting at all.  (Don’t you love contradicting crits?)   She pointed out a few details that she thought were overdone.  Easy fixes.  When she finished, there was more red than black on the page, though. Ugh.

Getting nervous. Re-write of one section per Professor’s comment brings me up to 10,075 words.  Yikes! Editing per Critical Beta #1’s suggestions brings it back down to 9,975. Whew!

My long time beta partner says it just needs a little tweaking.  She likes the beginning, but not my starting point.  She’s probably right, and this might be what critical Beta #1 meant, too.  I think I can fix this now that I understand better…  Just move the starting point three minutes later of where it is now.  She also suggested inserting a little more turmoil over the conflict early on for the MC.  Hmmmm.  I can do that, my only concern is only having an extra 25 words before the 10,000 word maximum.

Romance Beta comes back and actually liked the kissy stuff????  Yea for me!  She pointed out things that the others didn’t even see.

Memoir writer also pointed out some minor things that others didn’t notice.  Easy fixes.

Two people thought my closing six words were absolutely brilliant.  They both mentioned it without me asking… but Critical Beta # 1 deleted them without comment.  Too funny.

So many suggestions fly at you so quickly… you need to decide what fits for what YOU want in the work… and at the same time, please the masses… not everyone.  It’s impossible to resonate with every reader.

Clock is ticking.

Three people made the same comment about a rock in the well during my climax.  Going for a complete re-write of that scene.

Ugh… no words to spare.

Tick tock, tick tock… no pressure.