• Who We Are

  • Schedule

    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

  • Snarky’s Tweets

  • Kinetic’s Tweets

  • Dreamer’s Tweets

  • Wicked’s Tweets

  • Eerie’s Tweets

  • Mighty’s Tweets

Critique Groups

critique group

A critique group can be defined as a lot of things, but to me, it’s simply a group of people who get together to go over their writing. If you are a writer and you aren’t in one, I highly recommend either joining one or creating one. I spent years writing on my own, working my hardest to reach my goal of becoming a published author. Yet, it wasn’t until I joined a critique group that I not only grew a lot as a writer, but had the confidence and knowledge to become a published author.

But what makes a successful critique group?

  • The most important thing is that all the members have personalities that work well together. If everyone can’t get along, they can’t work together.
  • Trust is equally important. If you don’t trust the members of the group, it’s hard to accept and give critiques. The whole experience leaves you pretty vulnerable, which means you need people there you know want the best for you.
  • Depending on your groups goals, the members should always be thinking, “what can we do to improve their story so it can be published?” If the members are just trying to tear apart your work, the group isn’t helpful for anyone.
  • Keep the group small. More than ten members would make it very difficult to have time to read and review people’s work (well). I actually think five or so members is plenty.
  • Meet regularly. Every two weeks seems to work well for me, but each group will have different needs.
  • Submit each meeting. The only way you’ll see a lot of growth is if you have regular feedback. Each meeting you’ll try to apply the comments from the last meeting so that your problems change and minimize. This really helps your growth as an author.

I asked my fellow critique group member and friend Aeon Igni her thoughts about the benefits of a critique group, and I think her response was brilliant:

“If you’ve ever read Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, you know that much of business success comes from individuals grouping together to accomplish greater tasks than any one person could accomplish alone. A good writing group gives an author this power. With several minds focusing on their process, product, and career rather than their single mind, it is almost assured that the end product will be exponentially greater than what the author could create without this feedback.

Critique groups share information, techniques, tips and tools of the trade, as well as powerful brainstorming sessions and constructive criticism. We can see the power of critique partners and critique groups among published authors today – many authors I follow reference each other on social media and post pictures of themselves dining out or taking cruises together. 

For me personally, it is comforting to know that I don’t have to go it alone – that there are others to turn to when I am struggling or need advice. Even a simple text with an article to read or asking how my writing is coming along can be powerful motivation to keep moving forward. I expect that I will always be part of a critique group, and I can’t imagine a writing life without one.”

So if you aren’t in a critique group yet, find one or created one. It may be the single most important thing you do as a writer.

Multitasking to the Extreme

Right now I’m working on several things. Jumping between projects is either going to keep me focused on my writing, or drive me absolutely nuts, but I decided to shake things up a bit.

One night last week, I had a great idea for a short story. It started with an idea to create a character who lacked one of the five senses, so I’d have to push myself further with her other senses. Then, I created a “world” in which lacking this sense was actually safer than having it. From there, I tried to write a short piece with high tension. I have no idea if I succeeded, but I felt a huge sense of accomplishment when it was done.

During the week, I’ve been working on my “completed” young adult novel. The first forty-percent makes me so proud. The rest of it… well, I’m still editing… slowly making my way through it. The major things I’m still trying to work out are to make sure the timeline works, the romance makes sense, and still keep the tension high.

In the evenings, I’ve been working on my urban fantasy romance. I’m new to writing in this genre, so I’m excited to be trying something different. This is also a novella, which adds a new challenge. I’ve got to create a world, characters, and a fascinating plot with high tension, all in around forty-thousand words.

Now, I wish I could say I’m just one-hundred-percent focused on my writing, but I’m not. Life, my family and friends, still always comes first. I’m just trying to cut out a few minutes here and there whenever possible. I realized a long time ago that I’m a lot happier when I take this “me” time to get my ideas out on paper.

But all of this has made me curious; do you work on one piece at a time or multiple pieces? And whatever you do, why do it this way?

the frightening world of a writer’s mind…

In one of my many writer group links (yep, I belong to some and my inbox tends to crash on occasion at the many conversations running around out there) someone sweetly shared a link to a very insightful blog about being a writer. After picking myself up off the floor, I quickly forwarded it on to the other ED’s, and then, because I’m mean, I made my hubby sit down and read it.

I sat on pins and needles (okay so I basically stood over him with a blunt object) and waited for him to be swept away by the genius evident in the post.  He laughed, which was good–nice to know the warped sense of humor I married him for all those eons ago is still there–and then he looked at me with (gasp!) pity?!!! What the hell?  No, no, no, he was suppose to say, “Oh honey, now I understand why the Prankster Duo and I have to exist on unidentifiable left overs and delivery, while you sit in a dark office illuminated only by the flicker of a computer screen and why you sometimes resemble Gollum from Lord of the Rings (that’s the weird little dude who glows in the dark for you non-nerds).  It all makes sense!”

Did he say that? Um, nope.  Instead his response is, “It’s okay baby, I knew that when I married you and I still said ‘I do’.”

Seriously?? Did he not see the mad genius that exists in each writer’s mind? The mad babble of voices that fight for supremacy while leaving things like groceries, doctor appointments, eating, basic hygiene in their frenzied wake?  There’s a reason a writer will stare at you with a bemused smile while their eyes keep darting off to the side in the midst of your conversation.  Really, they’d love to listen to you but it’s a bit hard when the worlds in your head start to get pushy and demand exclusive attention.  I know, it sounds a bit psychotic, but it’s not our fault.  It’s why we write!

This week I read something that clicked. They said to make great art, you had to expose your soul and some things are better left safely in the dark. Those that fear exposing such darkness are constantly tormented by the fact they can almost touch the creative beast, while those who grit their teeth and reach out may burn, but the beauty of such exposure ensnares those around them.  Much like music, playing or creating, writing demands a price from its creator.  Every writer uses their own experiences in some way or fashion to help put life into their words, but it’s one of the scariest things they’ll ever do.

The next time you run across one of us, be gentle and understand, regardless of the genre (poetry, children’s books, songwriting, screen writing, mystery, romance, etc.) published or unpublished, we are writers and it’s not as simple as sitting down and typing out a string of words.  We’re sharing with you something infinitely precious, so if you damage it expect repercussions.  We may not all be Stephen King, but we are all story tellers.

So here’s the link:

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/08/10/what-its-like-being-a-writer/

For those with sensitive minds, please don’t go there and check it out. I really don’t want your family members contacting me and insisting I pay for  your medical bills.  For those who can stare into the abyss and survive, go forth and enjoy!

 

Wicked

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