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Posts Tagged ‘Critique’

  1. My very first

    March 16, 2015 by Suzi

    I’ve got something kinda cool to share. The very first story I ever beta read is coming out in about a month. In early winter 2011, I hooked up with Stacy Stokes through when we were both looking for beta readers. I’m not sure how many she’d critiqued before, but it was my very first time. Kinda scary and all that. What did I know about critiquing? Would she think it was too much… too little? Critiquing with someone new for the first time really gets your nerves going.
    In December we exchanged stories and I think it went okay. She still talks to me, at least. :) But that was the start of something new for me. I’ve learned so much from critiquing other people’s stories, and I’ve become a better writer, but I’ve also come to realize how much I enjoy critiquing and editing.
    Back then I was trying to connect with writers and I didn’t know anybody who was published. (Now I know lots. :) ) It was so cool to think then, and even now today, that I had a part in the journey of a story I was reading. That it could someday be published. And now for Stacy, that is happening soon.
    So for those who have not heard of it, Where the Staircase Ends by Stacy A. Stokes will be released next month and is now available for pre-order. Check it out here on Goodreads.
    Congratulations, Stacy. I can’t wait to read the final version (which she’s said has much changed).
    What about anybody else. What was the first book you ever critiqued and was it published?
    Where the Staircase Ends by Stacy A. Stokes
    After her best friend orchestrates the lie that destroys her reputation, Taylor wants more than anything to disappear from her life. But when an accident turns this unspoke wish into reality, instead of an angel-filled afterlife, Taylor must climb a seemingly endless staircase into the sky. Instead of going up, the journey plunges her into the past. As she unravels the mystery behind her friend’s betrayal, she must face the truth about life and find the strength to forgive the unforgivable — unless the staircase breaks her first.

  2. Why I’m tougher on my CPs

    January 12, 2014 by Suzi

    So a while back I wrote a pretend letter to my future (and current) CPs about how wonderful a CP I am. Okay, it wasn’t really that, but it was about how I do things… kinda. And it’s funny. Really. Go read it if you want.
    But now a year later, I’ve realized something else.
    I am much harder on my CPs than I am on published authors. And sometimes I feel bad about that. I can get picky about things when critiquing. Little things. Things that are subjective. Not typos and grammar.
    And sometimes I’ll debate, should I write this, especially when it’s so subjective? Usually I do, but I tend to put my disclaimer on there. The I’m not an expert, but…. Or the I’m not really sure, but here are my instincts about this. Or the I don’t remember a reference to this, but I could’ve missed it comment. Just to name a few.
    So here’s some examples of what I mean by being harder on my CPs.
    1. With a dual POV story. Sometimes I’ll run into a phrase that both characters are using. It’s not exactly an unusual phrase or anything, but it’s something that could be said different ways. (I hope that made sense.)
    I know that friends often use similar words and phrases because they’re around each other a lot, but my opinion on that for writing is different. You want to make sure that their voices are not too close to each other.
    So was using that phrase wrong? No. Not at all. But my subjective opinion says, don’t do this.
    Now when it comes to reading books, either Kindle or real book, do I pay attention to that?
    Of course, I have to like the voice to read a book, but honestly, I don’t pay close attention to dual POV voices and see if they’re too similar.
    2. Sometimes I’ll see a vague detail mentioned about a supporting character. And then it’s referred a second time, but it’s not fully explained. But since I’m seeing it referenced that 2nd time, my mind starts to wander. Is this important? Why aren’t we hearing more about it? Will something happen at the end that relates to this tidbit of information or is it just a small detail slipped in twice?
    So I’ll probably say, “What’s up with this? Why are you holding back? Is this important because you’ve mentioned it twice, and I really want more info here.”
    There was nothing wrong with what they did, but my mind is wandering off into directions that might not be important.
    But again, would I do that with a novel I read on my Kindle?
    No. I’d gloss over it and keep going. So really, I’m being harder on my CPs than I am on published authors and their books. And I kinda feel guilty, bad for my CPs cause there might be a lot of comments in their critique–many of which are just my opinion about the matter.
    I have a theory to why this happens.
    1. When I’m critiquing, I’m reading it slowly. I’m thinking more about the what and why. When I’m reading for fun, I’m reading quickly. I’m not analyzing characters and things on each page. I’m just reading to enjoy a story.
    2. When I’m critiquing, I’m reading on a computer. Which makes things stand out more. When I’m reading for fun, it’s in a book or on the Kindle—once again making it easier to read quickly and sometimes skim.
    I have a feeling that if I could take those published books and put them in Word and then go through and critique them, I bet I’d find a lot of things to mark too. It’d actually be fun to do, but I don’t know any way to do that.
    So anyways, to the amazing CPs whose stories I get to read, I hope you don’t mind me being so nitpicky. The way I look at it is, I’d rather say my comment, even if it’s totally subjective, than not say it at all. Cause what if it was a mistake on your part?
    Well then you’d be eternally grateful for my help. And really, who doesn’t want that? :)
    Are you harder on your CPs than the authors of books you read for fun?

  3. Query critique at Falling For Fiction

    September 6, 2012 by Suzi

    I am close to finishing up my editing on The Proper Way to Say Goodbye, and I hope to be querying by October. At least that is the plan. And I don’t want to make the mistake I did with my first novel–querying with a bad letter–so I’m getting as much help as I can.

    Thursday I’m over at Falling For Fiction. The ladies there offer critique help, and I’ve submitted my query. So Kelley G. will be giving me her suggestions, and I’d really appreciate any comments you may have also.


  4. A professional’s opinion

    April 29, 2012 by Suzi


    First. I got tagged in the Lucky 7 Meme by Stephanie Sinkhorn. I’ve already done it, so if you want to read it, go here.

    So Yesterday I attended the SCBWI Dakota Conference. It was a small event with only about 30 people, but we had three great speakers. Author Cindy Kane, Illustrator Carrie Hartman and Editor Brian Farrey-Latz from Flux—the young adult imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide.

    Writing is a balancing act

    Brian’s presentation was the one with the most information that pertained to me. He’s a dynamic speaker and is fun to listen to. One thing he spoke about was making sure we’re balancing the plot—the action, with the internally emotions of the main character.
    Apparently this is one of my problems with FROSTY.
    I signed up for the 15 minute manuscript critique session with Brian. (My first 1500 words) This was so cool because as I said, he’s an actual editor at a publisher that works solely with YA.
    Some of the ladies there (ladies cause there were only 3 men out of 20 and 2 were speakers) were nervous about their critique. I wasn’t nervous, but I hoped it wasn’t going to be ALL negative.
    He had some good things to say and of course pointed out the negative. Overall I was happy to hear what he said and the bad stuff didn’t surprise me.
    Three months ago, I got a critique from someone else in the industry and she commented that things were moving too slowly at the beginning. And that I had too many inner thoughts. So I revised and deleted 12,000 words. I think I went overboard. It wasn’t balanced.
    Setting and description isn’t my strong suit to begin with, but I cut too much of what I did have at the beginning. Many of the places where I cut are where Brian suggested I add more detail. I’m not going to bring back everything I cut because the key is balance. I just need a little more to establish my setting.
    I also need to add some more internal thoughts. No big conversations, but just a line or two every occasionally.
    After I met with Brian, I skimmed through his comments. Most of them are about adding a detail or two. Or to take a few lines and move them out of their current spot to somewhere else.
    It was a lot of great comments and I’m glad I decided to do the critique. Even though it was a one day conference and didn’t have a lot of attendees, I learned a lot and met a ton of new people.
    Now time to get back to work.
    Have you ever had an editor or a literary agent critique your work? How did it go?