critique groups critique tips writing

The importance of a GREAT critique group

I am very fortunate to have found a wonderful group of writers who share their stories with me on a biweekly basis.

I have learned many things from these people.

Below are my thoughts on what to look for in a critique group whether it be a group that meets regularly or an online critique group or partner.

Look for people who are not only complementary and voice your strengths in writing, but question you on the purpose of your story, the genre you are writing for and the arcs in your story.  They question your characters and their motivation.

A great writing group motivates you.  They support, gently guide and encourage you.  Their networking sources and experiences (good or bad) are invaluable.

How to critique others is something that is also an invaluable lesson.

Don’t critique unless you are invited to do so

Start with strengths – be objective on weaknesses

Invite questions from them – what do they feel is weak and confusing

Don’t refer to “you” – refer to the piece

Be specific, not vague

Avoid strong negative language – this might be more compelling if. . .

Point out effective words/ill-chosen words, the strongest points/weakest points

Learning to critique takes time – but time is what we all need to become better writers

Happy writing!

revisions writing

A Necessary Task, Revisions

The threat of another winter northeastern storm looms upon us this evening.  After spending the day outside for a dose of the brief sunshine, albeit the temperature showed a balmy 23 degrees, I came inside and resolved to clean my kitchen junk utensil drawer.  The sun giving me the needed boost of encouragement to do necessary but not enjoyable tasks.  The dreaded drawer filled with measuring cups, assorted spatulas, pizza cutters, ice thongs, etc.  The one everyone who has been cooking for 20 plus years can relate to.  Each year I go through this drawer eliminating the unnecessary items.  I am amazed at the items that clutter its ease of use.

This task, like revisions in writing is necessary.

After cleaning the drawer, I pulled out a manuscript I started two years ago. I am revising it because I love my protagonist and know that this story is marketable.

As I revise, I wish to share below my beginning tips.  I would love to hear your additions.

The words matter in your manuscript.  You know that your idea is wonderful, you have a compelling plot, you have set your scene, developed your characters, but take the time to make your writing stronger.  Attend a critique group.   Read your story to your critique group.  If you don’t attend a group, find one.  Another set of ears pick up on things you miss.

Secondly, eliminate or at least consider a different word to make your writing powerful – below are the words I find troublesome:

all, am, are, big, every, feel, got, have got, important, is, just, never, often, seem, small, stuff, things, very, was, went

How many of these words were in my first draft – too many to admit.

How many in my polished revised draft – like the kitchen drawer, I am working on it.

children's writing Uncategorized writing

Inciting Incident

Inciting incident is the spring board that drives the story forward – causes your protagonist to act.

This week in my writing critique group we had a great discussion about inciting incidents, where they should occur in the story and can you have more than one.

Below is a great article I found regarding inciting incidents from The Editor’s Blog.
Please see the link to the Editor’s Blog an always useful source of information.

Not only is this a great article, but the responses are also very thought provoking.

Hope this blog helps all the aspiring writers out there. I would love to hear your comments on inciting incidents.