Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Revising is suprising


2010
02.07

I started revising my main project a few days ago in preparation for the conference I will be volunteering at. Chances are NO ONE will want to see my work. If they do, though, I don’t want to show them something totally rough. While this is a fat cry from possible, better safe than sorry.

I’m surprised to find out how difficult revising can be. See, normally I write a few paragraphs, then revise them. Then I move on, leaving me with a better starting point. Usually, I have to look for showing vs telling, homonyms, and any MAJOR plot/character issues. This last project was started that way, but I kinda flew past the last several chapters.

Now, I am left to get my head back where it was, read, then revise. I often catch myself either getting lost in the read (forgetting I am supposed to be revising), or jumping around, forgetting where I am in the story (hence, putting in something chronologically incorrect).

It’s all part of the process, I suppose. I Definitely like the first stage of writing over the others, though.

Online Writing Groups


2010
01.23

So as a follow up post, I thought I would talk briefly about online writing groups. For some, there are no local groups they can attend. It’s a new trend but it’s out there, just as there are online gamers who talk to overwatchsrpros to improve their skills, online writing groups enhance our writing skills.  For others, like me, they want as much input/feedback as possible. Kind of like Johnny Five from Short Circuit, “Input! More Input!”

Anyway, there are several great online critique groups available. The three I frequent are:

Sribophile – A very professional approach to online critiquing. Most of the people there seem to know what they are talking about, and the owner, Alex, is on top of things. The free version works just fine, but has some limitations. For a small monthly fee, you can unlock those limitation, and get more feedback on more works, faster.

Absoulte Write – This site is the big kid on the block. They have TONS of forums and TONS of users. Several published authors, agents, editors, and publishers spend time there. The readers/critiquers can be a bit harsh, but they are usually right.

Review Fuse – Similar to Scribophile, but not quite as polished in my opinion. Great community, though, and another great resources to have your work torn to shreds.

Keep in mind, though, that the people on the sites (for the most part) are unpublished writers, and are simply offering their opinion… no matter how passionate they “offer” it.  I suggest using my method of reading feedback. If I agree with it, use it. If I don’t agree with it, toss it. The only exception is when you see a lot of the same comments. If eight out of ten say that your dialog needs reworking, chances are there is some validity there.

So go out and post your work! If you have nothing to post, make some flash fiction (REALLY short fiction, like 100-1000 words) and post it, just to see what you get back!

Writing Groups


2010
01.20

Tonight, while sitting in my writers group, I got to thinking about how lucky I am. The group of people involved are ALL so very talented, that I would have to be a complete moron NOT to learn something awesome.

Mark my words. If I ever become a well known author, it will be because I joined a writers group.

Which leads me to my next point: should you, or should you not join a group? The answer is (as if you couldn’t figure it out by now)… YES.

There is a trick, though. You have to find a good one. Here are some things to look for while looking for a good group:

1) Size. If thee group is HUGE, you will probably never get your work critiqued. Not to say that there isn’t a benefit from editing and reading others work, but you will never know what YOU are doing wrong (or right) until you get good feedback.

2) Genre. While you can be loose with this one, I think it’s easier to be in a group that writes (or at least a few write) in the same genre as you do. That way, you all are on the same page with the expectations of that genre.

3) Review style. I have been to a group where everyone reads their piece aloud. While I am thankful that they let me through the doors, I don’t understand how you can REALLY critique someone’s writing when they are READING it. It is easy to miss things (and impossible to catch others, like typos, etc.) when you aren’t actually reading it. Plus, the speaker/author can put inflection in his voice that might not be in the text, distorting what a reader might catch.

You really should find a group where people actually share the work ahead of time, then give time to read and edit before the meeting. This, I find, provides the most benefit.

4) Competency. While newbies should definitely stick together and help each other out, there needs to be at least some (although, the more the better) veteran writers. That doesn’t mean published exactly, just experienced. Otherwise, it’s the blind leading the blind.

5) Frequency. The more often the better! Now this, of course, will vary on your own schedule, but once a month isn’t going to cut it. At least 3 times a month, and that’s a minimum.

So, what to do now that you have found your group? Jump in head first. Start critiquing right away. I don’t care if your new and have never written before. All that means as that you are providing the opinion of the average reader… which is GREAT!

As soon as you feel comfortable (or sooner if you tend to be shy), submit something. Anything. Spend some time on it, but this will be your signpost for where you are as a writer… kind of like in school when they test you at the beginning of the year to see where everyone is. You NEED to know where you stand, so you can see where to climb to.

I am currently a member of the Fresno Sci Fi and Fantasy Writers Group, or FSFW. We are currently working on a new site, which I will post as soon as it is up. If you are lucky enough to find a group as good as the one I am in, then do whatever you can to join. Your writing will improve ten fold.