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Posts Tagged ‘critique’

  1. Aboard the Roller Coaster

    July 8, 2013 by Kiersi

    Life is a roller coaster. I’m launching my author website this week, and it will be awesome, and I’m terrified. But also giddy. But also terrified? Terrigiddy, I think is what they call this.

    A couple of things I’m thinking about this week:

    Passing time. Our heroes are going from one place to another. They’re sitting in a restaurant and eating. The heroine and her love interest are hanging out at the park for a whole evening. How do we let the reader in on the event, without boring them for three pages with “here’s what I ordered and what we said to each other and how about that Coke?”

    I read a passage yesterday that I just had to highlight. (I never highlight books, but this one is signed and addressed to me, so I can’t very well resell it when I’m done–might as well make it mine.) The protagonist was at a bar with a cute boy and said, “He kept me entertained. I looked at my watch and suddenly, it was eleven, and time to go home.”

    BOOM. Done. Over. And everything that needed to be said was said. They had a great evening–so much so that she lost track of time. Ingenious.

    My first book. We’re close to having a cover and a sample chapter for THE DEVIL’S FIRE, and a tentative release date. I can’t share any of these with you just yet, but soon, my pretties. SOON.

    Finding your joy. I’ll admit it: I’m a little disheartened right now with one of my projects. I’m stalled in my revision. Every time I look at it, I just stare at the screen and my blinking cursor and chew my cuticles. Seriously, my hands are destroyed and I have almost nothing to show for it.

    How do you conquer your enemy when your enemy is yourself? I’m the only thing standing between me and this revision getting done. Between me and querying this book. I have an ache in my chest to just finish it already and hit the next bullet point on my career goal list, but I somehow can’t bring myself to do it.

    At some point, I started to hate writing.

    Isn’t that sick? What writer hates writing? I felt totally lost, because writing has been my getaway, has been my joy, since I was four years old. Stories were my blood.

    So, instead of despairing, I decided to just let the draft sit and ferment for a while. I’ve been reading books that I hope will give me inspiration–I have a library hold on The False Prince and a friend is bringing me the sequel to one of my favorite books, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. (Seriously, this book is awesome, you should read it.)

    I’m also working on my Seekrit Project, just to keep my writer blood moving. You can’t become a better writer without practice, and maybe if I can become a better writer, I can tackle this beast that I’ve built for myself.

    When you’re in a bind and feeling low on inspiration, find your joy. Embrace it.

    Time management. Working a freelance job that fluctuates drastically in terms of workload is a tricky creature. I had more work last month than I’ve ever had–which is a great thing, but also a massive distraction from other projects.

    The Freedom app has saved my life. If you’re like me, and have a hard time tuning out distractions without help, Freedom is the way to go.

    Critiquing. I love critiquing, but I’m always a little nervous when I send off those comments to the author. As my significant other would say, my brutal honesty is my best quality and my worst flaw. I just can’t help it. I don’t even know how to lie off-the-cuff, even if just for the sake of a joke.

    So how glad was I when my CP announced on Twitter that I was beyond helpful? I might have hummed a little song. This is the reason I critique–because I want your book to be the best that it can be.

    How was your weekend? What little lessons have you learned lately?


  2. Querying Tips, Critiquing, and YA Stands!

    July 3, 2013 by Kiersi

    So, two weeks ago I started blogging with a great group of authors on a fabulous book blog called YA Stands. Today my second post with them goes up, so I figured my relationship there is cemented enough that I can announce it here!

    You can read my first post, 5 Query Tips You Would Never Have Guessed Actually Work, by clicking here.

    Determine the end point of your query. The “end point” of your query is very different from the end point of your novel. A common pitfall in a query is trying to tell the whole story in three short paragraphs (including the ending)–but the point of a query is not to tell the whole story. The point of the query is to capture the agent’s interest so they request a partial or a full portion of your manuscript.

    I also just put up a post today about critiquing: The Ten Commandments of Critique. I hope you’ll stop by and bookmark this great resource!

    Select a partner that respects you as a person and a writer. Be clear up front about the category, genre, length and style of your manuscript. Ask point blank if your potential partner enjoys similar work–I try to select comparable titles (published work that’s like mine) and see if my partner has read or enjoyed them.

    The next part is important, but hard to quantify: select a critique partner that understands your vision for your work, and is willing to help you achieve that vision.


  3. Self-editing is Not Editing

    July 12, 2012 by Kiersi

    A Treatise on Not Getting Yourself Down, and How To Be a Professional

    I am hyper-critical of my work–as in, critical to the point that I actually burst into tears during a revision of Fire & Brimstone. Not even joking. First came the tears, then the heart-wrenching sobs, then the boyfriend going slack-jawed as I began to thrash and scream. Okay. Well, I’m more emotional than some.

    But rewriting can be hard. Editing your own work is, by its very nature, an emotional experience. (I’m looking at you, @RebeccaTomorrow.)  Especially if you are editing a work you first wrote (a) 6 months ago, (b) one year ago, or (c) so long ago it doesn’t even matter anymore. Pretty much everything past (a), if you write regularly, will look like a third grader went at it with a crayon and some slobber. Trust me. I’m there with you. My threshold is about four months now–the beginning of The Aeronauts, which I started back in February, reads like some mutant crossbreed of a high school English essay and Tolkien.

    But there are things you can do to lessen the impact: and that is to realize that self-editing is not editing. (more…)