Tag Archives: Organizations

Writers: Don’t worry about the Statistics

I came across this article that really hit home.

Why statistics discourage prospective writers

We all hear the statistics.  1 in 500… 1 in 5000… 100,000 novels are being queried right now.  They are all scary.  Many people are daunted by this.

This article points out something that I hadn’t thought of.  Think it over.  All of us have at least one friend who is querying thinking there novel is great, and they are getting rejected.  I talked to someone the other day doing this and the only other person whose read her novel is HER HUSBAND.  Really?  What are you thinking?

Now, if all of you count up their one or two friends who refuse to get beta readers, and are SURE they are geniuses without getting a lick of feedback… are you counting them up? Are you getting a mental picture?  Get my meaning?

This is what I am getting at.  So what if you and 499 other people query at the same time.  If 300 of these are sub-standard, your chances just increased, didn’t they?

If 50 of the remaining 100 had bad queries, or boring plots, your chances just increased, didn’t they?

What you have to ask is this… Are you destined for the slush pile, or are you one of then ten that the agent or publisher is actually going to read?

Make your choice now, and work hard to get yourself out of the slush pile, and onto that agent’s desk.


How about a 250 word critique blog hop?

Note:  I’ll be posting a follow-up on my cancer surgery tomorrow.

Critique Hop:

Well, I tried to get you guys to contribute what you were working on, but that only seemed to spark moderate interest.

I’m trying to think of a way we can flop around each other’s sites and help each other out.

What about posting up to 250 words of what we are working on, and hopping around and critiquing each other’s work? Maybe make it a rule that you will hop to whomever gives you a critique, and critique theirs? (Everyone would post on their own blog)

That way the more you critique, the more you get back in return. Anyone interested? This is something we can do weekly, even maybe post the same thing as you improve it.  I know a lot of people don’t have beta readers, and this would be like gold to them.

I thought this would be a great way to get quick thoughts on our first pages.  After all, it’s the most important page of your book, right?

And yes… that means if you give me a well-thought-out critique, I will do the same for you.

What do you think?  Interested?


Anyone interested in critiquing my first page live?

Sorry for posting two times in one day, but I just found out that the first page of my WIP novel Fire in the Woods will be featured Sunday Night on Writer’s Chatroom for live critique.  **GACK**

I’ve never done anything like this before, and I’m not sure what to expect.  I think my first page will pop up on the screen, people will be able to read it, and then BAM they get the chance to start ripping away.

Nervous?  Maybe a little.  It sounds like a neat opportunity to have multiple critiques on the most important page of my novel, though.

Want to check it out?  Tune in Sunday at 7:00 Eastern.  My first page will be the sixth work featured.

Here are the details:


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Eastern USA Time…..7 PM

Not sure what time that is wherever in the world you are?  http://www.worldtimeserver.com


The Writers Chatroom at:  http://www.writerschatroom.com/Enter.htm

Scroll down to the Java box. It may take a moment to load. Type in the name you wish to be known by, and click Login. No password needed.

See you there!

OMIGOSH! I missed a Post! But I had a good reason!

Ugh.  I got home tonight, totally exhausted, and realised I had no FLash Fiction for  Flash Fiction Friday On Wednesday.

Oh!  I have failed you **Sob Sob**

But I have a really good reason.  Tonight I attended a critique session with a group of local writers.  I have a love/hate relationship with these things.  For one thing, I get really tired of saying the same things over and over again.  sometimes I wish I could just be the queen of cut and paste.

So… why do I do it?  Because someone a few years ago saw a glint of hope in a little newbie writer called Jennifer Eaton, and took the time to SLASH THE HOLY HECK out of her work, and then explain why.

Someone took the time to help me, and now is my time to give that little bit of help back.  That’s also why I do this blog.

Now, this is not to say I am the one-stop know it all about writing.  ‘Cause I know I’m not… but I do have a lot of experience at this point that I can relay to others.

So, yes, I groan over first time critiques… but I love when I get to talk to people and explain things to them, and have their eyes light up with an “ah-ha” moment.

There were mostly new people tonight, so I was starting from scratch, but one girl had been critiqued by me before, and her writing was SO MUCH BETTER than last time… I was SO EXCITED for her.  Congrats, Dawn!

I really love when I can relay a little of what I’ve learned.  It is so much better to learn from my mistakes than making these mistakes yourself.

And what did I get in return for my personal critiques?  An overwhelming consensus that my Main Character in my new WIP  Fire in the Woods is fourteen years old.

Why is this significant?  BECAUSE SHE’S SEVENTEEN.

So… back to editing my first few pages… where they thought the problem lay.

And sorry for missing flash fiction.  My mind is just a pile of goo.

Time for Bed!  Good night!

Biggest Mistakes New Writers Make #4: Resisting Feedback

Do you resist feedback.  Are ya sure?  Come on, now… Let’s be honest with ourselves, shall we?

At a recent NJ Author’s talk on “Getting Published” the authors (Listed and linked below) discussed the biggest mistakes they think new writers make.

 ***Don’t be resistant to feedback***

Danielle Ackley McPhail (Author of the Literary Handyman, and Editor of Bad Ass Fairies) commented during this discussion (see the other posts if you are just tuning in) that “you can’t be resistant to feedback”.  She said if you resist what editors say, and you seem resistant in general, they might not come back to you.  She said to recognize your role in the relationship.  If you won’t budge, then you won’t move forward. (And we all want that second book deal, right?)

For those of you who are not lucky enough to have publishers or editors yet, the same can be said about your beta readers.  If you have them listen to them.  You might not always agree, but if more than one person thinks something is weak, and you think it’s great, you need to consider that you might be looking at your work with blind eyes.  Take a deep breath, and LISTEN.  Be open minded.  Put your guard down, and you just might be surprised by what happens.

Jonathan Maberry:  www.Jonathanmaberry.com

Mike McPhail:  www.mcp-concepts.com

Danielle Ackley-McPhail:  www.sidhenadaire.com

Jon Gibbs:  www.acatofninetales.com

Jennifer R. Hubbard:  www.jenniferhubbard.com

Kristin Battestella:  www.jsnouff.com/kristin

Biggest Mistakes New Writers Make #1 – Avoid the Dreaded Delete Frenzy

At a recent NJ Author’s talk on “Getting Published”, a group of published authors discussed the biggest mistakes they think new writers make.  Boy did they have a long list!

The panel consisted of: Jonathan Maberry, Mike McPhail, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jon Gibbs, Jennifer R. Hubbard, and Kristin Battestella.

As always, I love learning from mistakes others have made, and I truly appreciate them sharing what NOT TO DO.

Rather than making this an insanely long post— and since Friday is now open—

This is going to be my new “Friday Night” slot… Biggest Mistakes New Writers make.

Mistake Number one:



It is really easy as a new writer to get frustrated, and go on a delete frenzy.  The problem is, the days of crumbling up paper and throwing it into a garbage can are over.  You can’t take your deleted file out of the trash, smooth it out, and look at it again.  Once you delete… it is gone.

Deleting in a frenzy can lead to loss of very valuable work.  Especially if you are really emotional when you are editing (we authors never do that, right?)

Trust me, you may think everything you’ve written stinks now, but you may find you need to refer back to part of it later.  Even if you don’t use it, it is part of your back story, and you may need to review it to keep your story consistent.

The Author Panel suggested keeping a side file and don’t actually delete anything. Just drag and drop.  If you never want to see it again, just don’t open the file.  But if you do—

From my own experience, I know I always change my mind.  There is a huge scene near the end of my novel where one character gets his memory back.  I have re-written the scene five times, and they are all dramatically different.  You know where I landed?  With my very first draft.  I was putting so many plot twists and turns in the revisions that the scene became confusing.  I did need to re-write it a little, but I stuck with my original idea.  Believe me, a year later, I was glad I had a copy to refer back to.

Avoid the dreaded Delete Frenzy.  Make a cozy little file. Call it a nasty name if it makes you feel better.  Someday, you may thank me.  🙂

Jonathan Maberry:  www.Jonathanmaberry.com

Mike McPhail:  www.mcp-concepts.com

Danielle Ackley-McPhail:  www.sidhenadaire.com

Jon Gibbs:  www.acatofninetales.com

Jennifer R. Hubbard:  www.jenniferhubbard.com

Kristin Battestella:  www.jsnouff.com/kristin

My First Face to Face Critique Group

Believe it or not, up until today I had never been part of a face-to-face critique group.

There weren’t any around me, and I didn’t want to travel all the way into the city and pay $30 for parking.

I had thought of starting my own, but hesitated because of the work involved with being a moderator.  Then, luckily enough, a friend of mine started one ½ hour from me.  She was so nervous, and very happy when I signed up… THe old strength in friendly numbers thing.

In retrospect, we discussed a few mistakes, one of which was opening it up to ANYONE who was interested.  She was trying to be nice, but it was frustrating to get there after critiquing ten pages of 4 other authors, and only having two other people show up. (The moderator, myself, and another participant)

It worked out fine, but I wasted valuable time reading and critiquing twenty pages for two people who will never see my comments,  — and if you know me… 20 pages equals about 90 comments. I am very thorough.  Also, I won’t see what they did for me (if they ever even read mine in the first place)

In retrospect, we discussed only opening up the critique sessions to established members of our writing group (which is 300 members strong).  This way, we can be sure the people are already invested, and not just “fly by night”.

What WAS good was that the three of us who came were serious.  We critiqued each other’s work, and since we had an extra hour, chatted further about each piece than we would have been able to under normal circumstances. (If the other two showed up)

I was particularly tickled that they both asked for the rest of my work (Last Winter Red) because they liked it so much they wanted to see what happened.  Everyone needs a little ego-boost now and then 🙂

Did they come up with anything my beta-army didn’t?  Yeah, a few things.  Every set of eyes notices something different.  What was cool was that I could talk to them about it.  The only problem with on-line beta partners is that you have to email back questions, and sometimes that’s hard.  Here, we just chatted it over.

Probably— if I knew who the people were, and I could trust that they would show up.  I believe that the more opinions you get, the better your work will be… and someone may just see one word that is wrong that everyone else read over.

Also, I love getting out and chatting with other writers.  I love helping people develop.  There are so many people out there with great ideas, they just need help formulating them in a marketable way.

I was there once (a novice), and it was not too long ago.  Someone helped me.  Okay, a lot of people helped me.  Gosh, I was bad… but my ideas were good.  Now that I know a little bit about writing, it’s my turn to share the wealth.

That’s not to say that I don’t make the same silly mistakes all the time.  I am nowhere near arrogant enough to say I don’t need my beta-readers.  I am just to the point where I know what they mean when they think something is not right.  I can look at their comments, hit myself in the head, and I know EXACTLY how to fix it.

Other writers taught me how to do that.

Now, I can give that knowledge back to others.