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.

Writing a children’s book is easy: Seriously?

How are children’s authors looked upon? From my experience early on not very well. In fact at one writer’s meeting a fellow author scoffed and said he could write a children’s book in one night. There was nothing to it. I was so stun I did not have a come back remark. Of course after as I was driving home I came up with a lot. This was not the only time I was made to feel this genre was easy peasy.

That ticks me off. According to reports this genre is one of the hardest to write in. You have to write it in a language that is not above their hands or beneath them. The dialogue has to be just right.

Ask a kid to read your book. If they don’t like it by page two they drop it and look for another book. Most adults will at least carry on to the end of the chapter.

My very first children’s book I had kids from a daycare look it over and the reviews were hard to hear but I welcomed them for they gave me what I needed to fix it. Have an adult write a children’s book yeah you can critique it but not through the eyes of a child.

A children’s book is like any other book. You have to have plots, characters and a time line that works together and not fall apart. You still need to revise, edit and revise again. You still need to come up with a cover that shines on your work. You still need to sent it through your beta and critique groups.

But aft all this it finally hit me on how to reply the next time I hear this.

If you think writing a children’s book is so easy go for it. I mean it. Go for it. After we will talk. But only after.

How to make your site pop: Videos and pictures

I have read that to make a post pop, on your social platform, that a good way is to include videos or images. I do find that when I go to a site if either or both are present I will be more engaged compared to if it is just text.

So, I been trying to find relevant things to include. With me having a children series based on my parrot, that we rescued and adopted, there is no shortage of pictures or videos. When I have shown these to children their amazement is very apparent as you hear, “Wow,” “Look how pretty that bird is,” “He has so many colors,” and so on. It is a nice learning experience for them as well.

While I can’t bring him to shows, safety reasons and all, I do bring things in place of that. This can include pictures, videos and some of his feathers, that has fallen off naturally, which is always a big hit.

But how often can be too much? That is something I am trying to figure out.

My latest video is of him during one of his shower times. It helps living with one’s main character to the children’s series I write. It gives you a deep insight into their personality when you have an one on one relationship with them.