Category Archives: Writing topics

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?

Commas are my Kryptonite: Oh boy they are

“Commas are my Kryptonite.”

I said this to my friend Gina one day. She laughed because she understood what that meant. She feels there is no such thing as too many commas, even when there is no need for them to be there. I am of the theory the less, the better, often leaving out spots where I should place a comma.

I am not a fan of commas. They serve their purpose, one of which is to irritate me when I need to figure out how to get it right in placement. But that is why I have an editor. She is worth her weight in gold to the commaless person who can not be bothered to learn where to put them.

What else is my Kryptonite now that I am thinking about it? I have issues with the word then compared to then and figuring how to use effect or affect.

Though, in fairness, I am getting there. I have gotten better as my editor has sent me edits over the years. See, even I can learn. I am sure there are other rules of grammar that are not coming to mind. Thanks to my editor, I can stick to writing.

What are your Kryptonites in writing or with the whole process of writing and having your manuscript published?

Writer’s block: Kryptonite for writers

How many of us have experienced writer’s block? I have told people that I have not had this issue. But that is not how I should word it. What I do when I get stuck is work on another project. Another WIP that I can spend time on until I am ready for the one that slowed me down.

I work on multiple writings at any given time to keep my mind on point with the different genres, characters, plots, and more.

It keeps me writing, regardless of what, and moving forward.

I have heard from many writers who need time to walk away, some putting their projects down and simply walking away.

Getting stuck is not fun. Not knowing how to continue, how to improve, and how to get over the hump varies. What works for some does not for others. People who hear I write on more than one project will wonder how I do it. Or better yet, why I do it. But it comes in part when I need a break from another project or when I am stuck.

One thing that has worked is when I am so horribly stuck and not motivated to work on another project. I will write something, anything to keep writing. It could include a blog post, a tweet, working on editing, or hanging around other like-minded people. Things will keep me in the frame of mine of writing until I am ready to work on my current WIP.

Block from writing is not fun. It can plague and discourage us. But when it happens, write on something, anything to keep your creative mind going forward until your brain one day is ready to get back to your project.