Category Archives: Writing topics

Writing among other writers: Check your surroundings

One should be careful when you are out in public and writing, especially with other writers discussing different scenes.

Three of my writer friends met with me at a local Chinese restaurant. After sitting down, we started talking about our craft. My friend Gina began to discuss a death scene. She mentioned how the man was in a tub full of chemicals that would dissolve a body.

Looking at her and not realizing or paying attention to who was around me, I told her that it all depended on the size and weight of the man and what chemical she was using. She would have a hot mess if she used the wrong amount or the chemical.

My friend Adrianne started to say, “Guys, lower your voices.”

We ignored her and continued. I told my friend Gina that if she used the wrong chemical, there could be a chance it would eat through the tub and the floor, and it would fall to the first floor.

Again, my friend Adrian said, “Guys, lower your voices,” as she pointed to her right.

Again good ole me ignored her and continued. As I did so, I just happened to look over. Sitting next to us were four officers, two of which were listening to me.

We quickly explained we were writers, honest, and discussing a scene. I continued to tell them that my degree was in Chemistry, to which they smiled. But we quickly moved on to a different topic.

I need to start carrying a sign that I am a writer when I write in public.

A tip to help you edit your manuscript

As you grow in your writing, you learn tricks of the trade. These are invaluable because they help save you time and improve your manuscript. Then there are the tips you might hear about from other writers when they share what they have heard used.

When someone said that they read their works backup, my head immediately looked up to turn to look at her. I was surprised. I was even more surprised when I saw some of the other members nod their heads.

What the heck, read your manuscript backward? According to them, when you read your manuscript, your mind tricks you into believing you have read every word. The mind skims over words, especially if you have read your WIP to heck and back. Your brain is unable to do this as readily. Because who reads a book backward? By doing so, you catch errors missed and errors that were big that could have made your manuscript tank.

It turned out it was an actual thing once I read it online about this shortly after the meeting,

Yes, I have read a page or two but nothing significant. I keep telling myself I will do it. If it is another tool to make your work pop, I need to make an honest effort to try it for myself. Thank goodness my children’s series are not so long. But oh man, when I work on my manuscripts in the 50K, it will take me convincing myself a lot to give this a go.

Critiquing an author’s work: Do you say yes quickly?

When a fellow writer asks you to critique their work, do you say yes quickly? I used to, but now I pause. I tend to ask the author if they want me to be as neutral as possible or do you want me to tell them what they want to hear.

I will turn that person down to look at their work if it is the latter. It is not easy critiquing others, especially if you know them personally.

It can cause hurt feelings or negative comments back onto you, or in one case, a negative review of one of my books. Yes, she went there.

Can you tell the author a piece of work has many issues? You can lessen the blow, but it still comes down to the fact it just does not work.

A new author asked me to review his book. When I read it, it was clear they had not used an editor or beta group to help them smooth out the multiple errors. But the story had meat on the bone where it was good. Contacting the author, I told them as kind as I could my opinion. I brought up positive points in the book. That way, not all they heard was negative. The author appreciated that I took the time to tell him instead of putting up a low-grade review. I was happy too. The book was good.

Joining a critique group is helpful. There are times when members would only give out the negatives. They didn’t think about how it made the author feel and not telling the author where they got it right. I always make sure I find positivity in the section we read. I know how it feels to get negatives making me wonder at times if I got anything right in the chapter I had submitted.

Looking over a piece of writing, especially if you know the person is not easy. One has to decide for themselves if one can handle the critique one will get back. One also has to ask themselves, can they give an honest review, even when the book has little going for it? Or perhaps the question is should I review at all?