Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Monday, October 15, 2012
If you don't have a crit parnter, go get one. Go ahead, I'll wait. No, not really. You need one. You need more than one. If you really haven't got one, may I suggest getting the BCWG bible, The Writing and Critique Book Survival Guide By Becky Levine? It will start you off in the right direction. You can also get crit partners via blog hops & pitchfests - like Deana Barnhart's GUTGAA. There is no shortage of resources online for getting you hooked up to a crit partner.
But what do you do when you have one and it's not working out? A writing friend recently asked me for some advice. A new crit partner of hers had come back with some negative feedback. Not constructive criticism, but the kind of feedback that's no use to anyone - unspecific, vague and seemingly intentionally hurtful. It was way off base. My friend didn't want to be treated with kid gloves so she was unsure how to respond. Was her crit partner just giving her tough love? Was her main character really so unlikable? It was enough to undermine even the strongest writer's ego - and we all know that we don't have strong egos (inflated, crazy, psychotic, yes, but not strong.)
My advice was to remember that every crit partner, no matter how good, has an agenda. They have biases - ones they may not even know they have. Take everything that they say with a grain of salt, especially until you get to know their style and quirks. When you get feedback from crit partners, put it on hold. Don't take it to heart OR discard it. Just let it sit in limbo for a while. Once the feedback has a chance to cool off, you can examine it, and your story, to see if what your crit partner is saying resonates for you.
My friend spoke to her crit partner and it turns out that there was a bias there - something the crit partner wasn't even aware of. The honest discussion put both crit partners in a better place, open and receptive to each other's feedback.
What's your relationship with your crit partner(s)? How do you keep each other honest?
Monday, October 8, 2012
"Books and ideas are the most effective weapons against intolerance and ignorance."
"We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasent facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."
John F. Kennedy. Remarks made on the 20th anniversary of the Voice of America at H.E.W. Auditorium, February 26, 1962
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
(ALWAYS WANTED TO USE RAINBOW LETTERS!)
Thank you, everyone, who entered our giveaway. Can't wait to visit another fest soon so we can bring you info and swag. By the way - do you know of any good Fests (any genre, we're omnivores) in the NY, NJ, PA-ish area? Will travel for swag!
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
I don't read much contemporary YA. I'm not really drawn to realistic narratives. I like my angst with a side of fantasy, supernatural, demons and witches. So I don't know why I started to read Jennifer R. Hubbard's books, other than she was appearing at the YA Fest I was going to and I was curious about her work.
First I read her debut, THE SECRET YEAR. I was immediately hooked and quickly picked up TRY NOT TO BREATHE (which she kindly signed for me at the event.)
It's a very different kind of read when you read about teens and don't expect one of them to shoot sparks from their hands, or confess they are fairies. I'm not knocking those books, they are the kind I love (and the kind I write) I'm just saying that realistic contemporary books engage different, quieter parts of the brain.
Ryan is a sixteen year old recovering from a suicide attempt. It's a remarkably melodrama free situation - He's not the kind of kid that has so many insurmountable problems that you can't relate to him - he's just like you. The thing he lacks is the ability to cope when things progressively spiral downwards. Hubbard does a very good job of making his situation and his responses understandable. You may not ever find yourself in the same position, but you can see the path that Ryan took to get there.
Hubbard is never patronizing and never goes for the cheap emotional tug, even when Nicki, a girl tormented by her own father's suicide, seeks Ryan out - looking for answers he just doesn't have.
Suicide is a heavy issue, and it can be handled awkwardly by writers trying to do 'right' by such a loaded topic. But I think Hubbard's touch is light and truthful. What amazes me about both her books is how authentic the voice is - I never had that feeling of "Wait, no teen would ever say that," that I've had with some other YA books.
One last thing about Hubbard's writing. I liked THE SECRET YEAR a lot. I was looking forward to reading TRY NOT TO BREATHE, but I still was surprised at how good the writing was. It had gotten better in the second book - no small feat considering that the first book was already a win.
Monday, August 13, 2012
OKAY, will mention.
Here's what we're giving away:
Signed copies of:
A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS by Michelle Zink
FAIRY TALE by Cyn Balog
YOU by Charles Benoit
ROT & RUIN and DUST & DECAY by Jonathan Maberry
Plus a ton of bookmarks, signed postcards, buttons and other goodies.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Monday, July 30, 2012
Monday, July 23, 2012
This post by published author Roni Loren literally stopped me in my tracks. Blogger beware - those pictures you (and I) are populating our blog posts with could get us in to trouble.
Bloggers Beware: You CAN be sued for using Pics on your Blog.
What do you fellow bloggers think? Will this change how you blog? I know it's making me think. Greg is a photographer as well as a writer - Greg, what are your thoughts?
By Greg Hardin