Posts Tagged ‘critiquing’

Summer Update

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So I’ve been very quiet lately over here, mostly because there’s not all that much to report. I turned in The Bone Flower Queen to my editor last month and am waiting on his edit letter, and I also finally finished up Fugitives of Fate and took the plunge, submitting it to two different publishers. This time I’m not bothering with trying to get an agent; I did attempt to do so last year, but there wasn’t any interest whatsoever in my first round of queries. There are a few digital-first romance publishers that I think would be open to my unusual setting, but they don’t pay high advances–if any at all–so it seems a waste of time to try to convince an agent to take me on at this point. Regardless of how it turns out with these publishers, this book will eventually be published, even if I decide to go it alone by self publishing; the book is good, but will likely be held back by the fact that it’s not your usual historical romance setting. I have no intention of letting it languish unpublished.

On the writing front, I’m current between projects while I wait to hear back from my editor on my synopsis of the final book of The Bone Flower Trilogy. I’ve been keeping busy in the meantime with reading and critiquing friends’ novels; I had two to do this month, and I’ve started on the second and hope to have it done in a few days. I’m also giving thought to my next alternate history romance novel. I may end up outlining that one after I finishing critiquing. I’m looking forward to getting back to some actual writing soon.

In case you haven’t been here to the website in a while, I’ve made some updates that might interest fans. I’ve posted a copy of my Big Idea essay–in which I talk about the core idea behind The Bone Flower Trilogy–and I’ve added a 50-question quiz to test your knowledge of The Bone Flower Throne. Most exciting though, I’ve added a page for The Bone Flower Queen, which includes an excerpt for readers, and you can browse the book’s Pinterest page. I’m looking into making a reader’s guide for BFT, but haven’t made a whole lot of progress on it at this point.

Artists, if you’ve been inspired to make art from The Bone Flower Throne (or any of my works, really), I’d love to see it! You can contact me via the contact page here, or you can drop me a note over on Facebook (though be aware that I might not see your message for a while since Facebook likes to drop stuff into the Other inbox and I often don’t look at that for weeks on end).

Using Critiques: Part 4: You’ve taken it, so now it’s your turn to dish it out

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This is a been a very long time in coming and I apologize for having put it off for so long (curse impossible deadlines!), but here we are finally, at the final installment of the critique series. If you have yet read the first three parts, I recommend going back and starting at the beginning before reading below.

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In the first three parts, we covered the basics of getting critiques and how to use them for your own work, but in truth that’s probably the least useful part of critiquing. Crazy, I know! It’s of course great to get feedback on your own work and find out what others think works or doesn’t work, but the true value of critiquing is in giving critiques to others. Because critiquing is the best way to learn how to write better. Critiquing teaches us to look critically at how and why things don’t work, and how and why they do, and the lessons we learn from critiquing other people’s work can be used to improve our own work. This is why you want to become a good critiquer. And if you want to get critiques of your own work, chances are that you’re going to have to critique other people’s work. No one likes to critique the work of someone who never returns the favor, and who can blame them? Critique as much and as often as you can, and try to develop professional relationships with your fellow critiquers. After all you’re also in search of your dedicated reader and maybe even potential future private critique group members.

So what exactly is involved in critiquing?

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Using Critiques: Part 3: Where to get critiques, and how to develop lasting professional relationships through them.

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— Originally published 4/26/2010 @ LiveJournal

I had this done on Friday, but things were too hectic for me to be able to edit it until today. But here it is!

Part 1 is here, part 2 is here.

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So far we’ve talked about how to use critiques, but the big question those just starting out might have is “But how do I get critiques?” There are many ways, some of them more expensive (and in some cases less effective) than others, but there’s probably one out there that will work for you. So let’s go through this.

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Using critiques: Part One: First Things First

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— Originally published 4/15/2010 @ LiveJournal

I actually thought about writing this months ago, but never got around to it, and now that I have, I realize that it’s going to be multiple posts. Who would have thought that I’d have so much to say about critiquing?

Anyway, I first decided to write this when I was fresh off of getting a whole lot of feedback on my novel and quite literally feeling like I’d been punched in the gut repeatedly until I wanted to puke. Getting critiques can be difficult, even for those who’ve been taking the punishment for years. I went through a phase where I just couldn’t deal with critiques anymore and so stopped doing them or putting my work out there to be critiqued for several years right after Clarion West. Eventually I came around to the fact that critiquing is useful, particularly for the learning writer, for it forces one to go beyond their gut reaction to a piece and analyze why something isn’t working, or even why it is working. One can grow by leaps and bounds if they go into critiquing others’ work with the right mindset and open themselves up to the lessons it can teach.

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