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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Write What You Write-

    This post is inspired by my agent, who, being a writer herself, has keen insight into the ups and downs of a writer's mind and the various reactions that go with it.
   Yesterday, those of us in our agent's client group were told that, New Adult fiction, is the hot genre now. I immediately felt I had to try to write one. After all, what I write might be on its way out.
    I assume some of the other writers/authors might have been wondering the same, since there were lots of responses to our agent's latest find on what's popular at the moment.
    Let's see, I have two completed contemporary novels and I can rework them to fit that genre. Or, I can write one from scratch. These are some of the thoughts that accompanied my morning walk in the park this morning.
    And then I received an-e-mail sent to all of us in the client group...WRITE WHAT YOU WRITE.  Ahhh, truer words cannot be said.
    If we try to fit into the most popular genres, it's often depicted in our writing. But, if we write what we are comfortable writing, and what we ourselves enjoy reading and know about, then that is reflected in our work.
    There are so many books out there.
So many different categories in the many genres. I am not apt to write a novel about fairies and wizards. Not because those stories are not good, but because I have no interest in that topic and it would surely show. And what about the joy of writing?  I prefer to enjoy what I write about, not drudge through it just because 'maybe' I'll make a decent sale. Or just for the sake of becoming published. For me, to do this could mar my craft.
    Before I write any other genre, I'll need to read a few books in that category, to see if I enjoy them. If I don't, no sense writing one. It would be like having a job I hate.
    So, while I will dabble in new areas of writing to see if I fit into any other genre beside the one I write, I will  focus on whatever I truly find enjoyable to write.
    Bottom line: In order to give readers the best I can give, I'll: write what I write! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Value of a Critique Group

     When I was first encouraged to join a critique group I was very anxious about it.
     What if my writing wasn't up to par compared to the rest of the group? Would I be able to critique the work of other writers in a helpful manner?  How many grammatical mistakes and misspellings, plus basic writing rules would I be in the red with?
     Well, the only way to know was to go for it. So, I did. After the first critique there were red comments to the right side of my page all the way down nearly every page of my first chapter.  I winced. I hated what the comments said. Not because of the veracity of them, but because of the realization of my ignorance in writing good fiction. (I had written and published only non-fiction in the past. A whole other ball game.)
     But I read the comments and took their advice. I learned all about POV and TELLING. Neither of which I'd ever heard of before joining the group. It's amazing they kept me on. But I am grateful, because I learned and improved my craft.

     I remember one former member of the group who noticed how often I used exclamation marks. When I read through the chapter I almost laughed aloud. Nearly every other sentence had one or two at the end of it. Perhaps I was writing the way I often speak...with emphasis! Maybe too much so.
     Reading the work of the others in the group was an inspiration for me to keep at it. Some were quite experienced and published. I knew I was with a group of authors I aspired to be like.
     Now, I look forward to doing critiques and in receiving them. It's great when others catch something I've
overlooked, even after reading it several times. It assures that my submissions to my agent will be as error-free as possible.
    So, if you're a new writer, or even a well seasoned one, and haven't had the experience of being in a critique group, I highly recommend it. Yes, it takes some time to critique the work of the other writers in return, but it is interesting to read their stories and styles of writing, and the payback of their critiques is well worth it.