Do you critique other people’s works?: You should

Do you critique other writers?

We are not going to find all the errors on our own. Finding like-minded people to read over our works is a valuable tool.

Why should you read others? You will want people to return the favor and help you out as you are helping them out. It will also strengthen your writing as you see how others do it, mistakes that you find in theirs you might be doing as well.

Not just that, but the camaraderie of being with other writers is such a big boost. Who else gets what it takes to write a novel?

But as you are going over the works, do you give a positive? It should not all be about what this writer did wrong. We need to know where we got it right to know we got it right. Would you want that from someone else?

I have been in a meeting where the writers would drone on about what I did wrong. It came to a point where I said out loud to no one in particular, “Good grief, did I do anything right?”

I hadn’t meant it to be loud, but people heard me. Quickly, a few offered where I had gotten things right. It should not have taken me to express myself for that to happen.

Like anything else, we are humans, and to go on repeatedly what we are doing wrong won’t be met with open arms and happy hearts.

If you critique, find something the person did right. It will lift them. After all, how would you feel if this happened to you?

I would suspect not very good.

You been offered a book contract: Now what?

When you are offered a writing contract for the first time, one’s inclination might be to jump for joy, happily sign it and move on as you tell the whole world.

Jumping for joy has to be imposed. LOL

But once that has calmed down a bit, and I understand that might take a while, it is necessary to print out your contract and go line by line. There will be areas that are foreign to you. That is where you can start to search online. You can ask people who have done this before.

Before signing your books and yourself into something you can’t get out of for a certain period, your books deserve you to take a step back.

There are things in there you might not like. There are things you need to know about the direction of your book and where the publisher plans on taking it.

With the hard work that you have done in creating this book, editing and revising it, stopping short at this point does your book no favors.

It may be the best contract you have ever had. It still needs to be read. For one that is signed, that is it. The oh oh, what did I do, can I go back and more will all have the same answer, no.

You will feel better, trust me. You really will feel better if you take the time to do this properly.

After, you can go back to jumping for joy.

Writing tips for new authors: It can’t hurt to listen

What advice have you received or heard that helped you with your writing?

One of the first things, for me, was to write about what you know. This little nugget is how I started my children’s and humorous series.

It took me a few books to work outside of my comfort zone. I branched out into different genres that I might have left alone. So, while that advice got me started, I don’t rely on it.

I have a few other WIP that I am unfamiliar with the content. All I need to know is a couple of things in general. From there, I work around the idea. That is a tip I share with others.

It was freeing to explore the different roads writers take.

But also, invest in an editor. I know editors are expensive. But if you can find a good one, they are worth their weight in gold.

Find a good writing group. Now, there is not always one near you. There are numerous critique groups online. It could be a forum or a virtual meeting. They will help you find errors that go by you. They will improve your story in a way you might not have ever been able to obtain.

Making goals for your book is one I tell others. As you are writing, decide what you want to accomplish from it. I come up with achievable goals and over-the-top goals. Dreaming big is a mantra I keep.

There is so much advice out there. Too much, actually. You will have to weed through the forest of information you are getting. But when you find the ones that work, pay attention.

The Musings of A New Englander