Friday, October 31, 2008

Writing and Critiquing

One positive aspect of being a writer is all the wonderful talented writers we meet during our long and challenging journey. Writing is an individual process where we each learn and explore our own way to write. We all write in different styles, genres and voices. Some of us write fast and furiously, and some of us lope along at the speed of a slimy slug. It's what makes writing so exciting and rewarding.

Often times we are called upon to lend our services to our fellow writers in the form of critiquing. Whether we are a member of a writing class, involved in a writing group, or share our work with an individual critique partner, having our work critiqued is an important, necessary part of our writing journey, and it's one of the most difficult.

It's hard to hand our personal writing over to anyone -- including a friend, teacher, or stranger to be critiqued. But best to have their input before submitting your baby to an editor or agent.

Often times, I will be involved in judging a contest. This is fun because it's anonymous, and it allows us the freedom to be honest without creating hurt feelings. Of course, when I judge, I attempt to be as kind, gentle and diplomatic as possible -- making suggestions rather than telling someone what to do to make their story better. After all, it's only my opinion.

Remember all writers are at different levels in their writing -- from beginners all the way to professional, published writers.

Some basic rules to follow when critiquing:

*Make comments and suggestions -- do not rewrite their work
*Be encouraging
*Remind the writer that this is your opinion
*Point out the great lines as well as the sentences that could use revising
*Put in a smiley face or two :)
*Keep in mind the writing level of your author
*Remember, there is always something to learn when reading other writer's work
*Be professional
*Enjoy the process
*Critique unto others as you would want them to critique for you.

Good luck in your writing, and embrace the journey! :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friends and Writers

One of the great advantages of being a writer in the 21st century is we have myriad ways to socialize and network with other writers. The computer and the availability of the Internet allows us to communicate with family, friends and like-minded people from all over the globe. Amazing to be sure.

I'd like to introduce a fellow writer who fits into all three of those categories for me. He is family, a friend, and a fiction writer. How lucky am I?

Dell Smith writes short stories and novels of contemporary fiction. And without sounding too bias -- he's a damn good writer! His most recent completed manuscript is A Little Disappeared. He, too, is in search of a literary agent to help launch his publishing career. You can check him out at

Good luck, Dell! :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hope and Romance

As an unpublished writer, my desire is to be published. I work hard at my writing; learning and honing my craft, however it's equally important to know and understand the complex world of publishing. My goal is to have my contemporary romance manuscript, Summer Light, contracted and published by a top publisher in the industry. I've set my sites high, however, there are a variety of other opportunities in the world of book publishing.

There are the well-known New York publishers, smaller presses, vanity presses, e-publishing, self-publishing and everything in between.

According to the Romance Writers of America, romance fiction generated approximately $1.375 billion in sales in 2007! Wow.

That said, the competition is more intense than ever. RWA has a membership of around 10,000. That's plenty of romance happening. :) With the invention of word processing and the ease of computers, it's possible for anyone to sit down and pound out a novel. But the writer must know the basics of good writing and how to tell a compelling story.

I believe I've written a solid story filled with passion, hope, and romance. :)

Wish me luck!