Thursday, May 17, 2012

Capilocks and the Three Critique Partners

Once upon a time, there lived a young writer with stories worth gold bouncing from her head. She dreamed of an amazing house—a publishing house that would take her manuscript all the way to Happily Ever After. So after Capilocks trudged through the Forest of Revision, she set out to find a critique partner that was juuuuuuust right.
The first partner she found was a tough one. He flashed his red Sharpie and laughed a maniacal laugh as he slayed each sentence and made them his own. He belittled her ideas, told her to only write to the trends, and tweeted mean things about her crappy first drafts.

Capilocks shuddered. “This relationship is too hard.” She wished him well, gathered her tattered ego, and backed away.
The next partner she found was quite cuddly. She dotted her I’s with smileys and hearts, embraced every adverb, and proclaimed, “Brilliant! Send it!” whenever Capilocks scribbled out a new manuscript on the back of a phone message. Capilocks liked this new partner. She never criticized and always encouraged, but Capilocks' stories were still rather suckish.
“This critiquer is too soft,” she said. Capilocks looked around for someone new.
At last, she landed in a relationship with a fabulous writer and caring soul—someone who wanted her to succeed, but wasn’t afraid to ask tough questions. Someone who encouraged her voice, but hid the postage stamps and guarded the send button until manuscripts were polished and prime.
“This critique relationship is just right,” said Capilocks. And it was.
I’ve been blessed to work with some amazing critique partners and dodged a few that didn’t work for me. Where do you go to find great critique partners? Do you ever find it’s tough to critique in a way that’s juuuuust right? Please share in the comments below.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Surviving The Wait

You hit send. And so it begins. The waiting. You check your sent folder. Yep. It’s gone. Now what? Do you spend the rest of your days hitting F5 to refresh your inbox? If you don’t at least feel the pull, I question your humanity. But you know, there’s no guarantee of a response. So here are ten different things you can do while waiting.

10. Be a kid again. Go down a slide head first. Blow bubbles. Color a picture. Walk on your hands in the swimming pool. Do something fun, and practice not caring what anyone thinks about it.
9. Find fun songs about waiting & sing them loudly as you drive through town with your windows down and your hair tangling in the breeze. We writers don’t have to look like soccer moms, you know.
8. Volunteer. Come out of your writer’s cave and see what cause needs some love. Tutor a kid. Help out in an animal shelter. Serve others at a soup kitchen. It will help put things in perspective again.
7. Ketchup. No wait, I meant catch up. That laundry pile looming and threatening to bury you in your sleep? The kitchen floor confettied with Goldfish crackers and Cheerios? Take charge of it before paranormal elements emerge.
6. Create flash fiction. Can you write a mini story? There are some fun contests out there with prompts and prizes to get you started.
5. Let out that nervous energy in a way that feeds your soul. If it’s running, run. If it’s playing guitar, strum. If it’s dancing, twirl. Your family will thank you.
4. Create a spreadsheet. When responses come in, you’ll want to keep good records so you'll know who you sent what and how they responded.
3. Read. Read for fun. Let a stranger’s story dance in your head. And when you finish that book? Read another one.
2. Plot, plan, dream. Start thinking about your next writing project. It’s time.
1. Write something new.

So what do you do when the waiting starts? Comment below and let us know.