Critiquing: Are you one who is constructive or destructive?

 

At one writing meeting I was told repeatedly about this new member who was amazing at critique their works. I was excited. While I had nothing to present this was still a win win.

The meeting began and this member showed up and sat down while everyone tried to engage with him. After a few moments to chit chat we started. The first presenter read a few pages of their manuscript. Starting with the person next to them the critiquing began. The highs and lows were discussed as we went around the table.

It was this member’s turn to speak. And spoke he did. He spent a lot of time tearing down what was wrong and smiling as he did it. He didn’t mention one thing this writer had done right. Instead he basically gave a laundry list of what they did wrong. Looking around the table it seems people were appreciating his brutal honest.

I did not. The face of the writer I could not really decipher.

Sadly there are people who relish in tearing down a person’s work and label it critiquing. For some reason my group translated this as wonderful. I translated it as someone who enjoyed tearing people’s work while feeling their work is amazing.

When it came to my turn I gave the writer three things that she had done well. I told her that one of the critiques she had received from the member could be readily fix and not as extensive as first describe.

Her smile was worth it. When I critique I always give positive and negative. Don’t get me wrong I will be honest when I give a review. But it can be done in a way that is constructive not destructive.

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Prompts: Writing or picture

 

I love writing prompts for it makes you really think hard and dig deep to write something that will make sense and fun to read. But a picture prompt are, to me, so much more fun.

I have written stories from these kind of prompts and in fact my favorite story written from such is a paranormal story. I have never written one before. But the picture made my mind go there and back. It is a story that I have received many lovely compliments and it is now in my anthology, “Everyday Musings,” which is out.

It was challenging for me for the genre was new, making it all work out and making sense was another and trying to make it click was a bit of work. But it was fun to do. In fact I, when time permits, will be expanding it further into a longer short story or a short novel.

Prompts are great if you are having writings block, don’t feel like working on your WIP or you just want to try something different. The libraries have plenty of books to choose from, bookstores and online if one just googles.

So try something different. It might lead to something wonderful. It could take your mind and creativeness to places you might not have considered before. It might help you figure something out on another WIP. Plus, it can help you have fun on something not in your box of tricks.

So if you are in a writing group perhaps have prompt night. If you are online and know a few writers suggest a prompt meeting.

It may not be your cup of tea and you will know soon enough. There is little to lose but a lot to gain.

Reviewing different genres: book review

 

 

I been reviewing books for a quite a while now. In that time I have done it for companies, authors and just for myself.

Reviewing the various genres can be challenging. In fact some reviewers will only review a book in certain genres. Some, like myself, will review anything.

My biggest challenge has always been children’s book. The reason being is one of the companies I review for requires at least 300 words per review. Doing a children’s picture book that you can read in under a minute is challenging.

You have to pull all that you know as an author and reader to find the word count needed. But reviewing children’s book is fun. You are reading a different genre and age group which will help you with your reviewing skills.

Each genre has requirements that makes it fit in the genre it is in. That is what the readers are looking for when they check out the reviews for a book. So it make sense that writers who review will stick to certain genres. It is what they know.

But to me any genre still should have the same requirements. This includes plot, development of characters, time line, loop holes, research that makes sense and more. If you are reading a book that does not have the essentials to what a book should have it does not matter what genre you read it. The results will be the same.

It will be a book that fails regardless what genre it is in and what a reader reviews it.