Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Home Again

Workshop with Caridad Pineiro, L.A. Banks, A.C. Arthur, Kimberly Kaye Terry and Megan Hart.
The Allure Authors Reception/Signing Am I the only one who goes away, either business or vacation, and can't wait to get home? RT Convention was fabulous, my first year as a published author so it was really exciting. One thing that meant a lot was to be able to put something in the Changeling Press basket as an author. Met lots of readers and authors. Chatted, networked and attended workshops. And the parties--especially the Ellora's Cave night--Cavemen were HOT! And I don't have to tell anyone how great the Mr. Romance contest was right? I met some friends from last year and caught up on what they're doing. One won Bobbi Smith's Creative Challenge contest for those who attended the advanced writing classes. She'll have her synopsis and a chapter sent to a NY agent with an eye towards representation.
I took my laptop with the hopes of getting some editing done, perhaps read a little and do some crits for my groups. Maybe even write a couple thousand words.
Nada. Zip. Nothing. Each night I fell into bed so exhausted it was unbelievable. Had a great time and wouldn't trade it for the world. But it brings me back to my original question...
How long before you long to be home again?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Convention Prep

Yikes! It's almost here. RT Convention is around the corner, glaring at me. I'm making key chains and of course I waited until the last minute. Who said promo was easy? But, I will be getting my site name out there and I hope those who pick up a chain will stop by and leave a comment. Are you attending? What are some of the promo items you'll be using? Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Importance of Critique Groups

You know... critters. At least that's what we call them. No, they're not a bunch of little creatures running with nuts and looking for cover. Well, not most of them. Though we've been known to hide out when involved with a new WIP and the words simply fly from our fingertips. Finding a group that fits you is very important. You'll only grow as a writer if you learn the mechanics of writing. I remember reading somewhere that great authors weren't born that way--they learned to write. This doesn't mean not to attend classes, you should. But read, read, read. From all genres. Become serious about your craft. You have a story to tell, so now you have to write it in a way that others want to read it. Nothing works as well as having someone (no, your mom, sister or best friends don't count) look through your WIP with a fine tooth comb. The fun part is--you get to comb theirs. It can be scary telling someone you don't think something they wrote works or is passive and, ach! the dreaded backstory. But it's important to be honest in your critique. There's no need to be brutal or disrespectful of someones creation. A few well thought out ideas or suggestions will go much further in teaching and helping. This is a very subjective industry. We all read books looking for something different. It's not the difference we critique, or the author, it's the mechanics of writing. When I joined my first group, it literally scared me to death. I was getting ready to give my story, my baby, over to a total stranger to rake over the coals! What if they didn't like what I wrote? What if they tell me to forget it, you're terrible. All these things ran around in my head until I gathered my courage and posted the first chapter. And, boy, my first one was tough. She wrote, "watch the head hopping." Then every other sentence there appeared a box to the side saying, "whose POV is this?" I've since learned that little box to the side is a comment box. It's used to give suggestions and comments, and if used effectively, it will help you to hone your craft. All kinds of good stuff can appear in that one little box. One day there was a comment to me from the same person that said, "Wow, this is good." An encouraging note that told me I learned, I improved. Without my critters help I'd probably still be sitting at my computer, all alone, struggling through another story and wondering why the hell my email was full of messages saying thanks but no thanks. There are many groups out there who share their expertise in various genres, google critique groups. Find one that fits you and always keep an open mind. You'll only improve at what it is you love doing--writing. - J. Hali Steele.