Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Fricassee

What a fabulous week of critique!  I'd love to hear your thoughts about the unfolding of this latest First Line Grabber.  Did any of your favorites make it to the final round?  Did the pages live up to the original first sentences?

It's fascinating to read the sometimes completely bipolar responses from agents, too.  A reminder, for sure, of how subjective this business is.  True, there is always not-so-good writing or not-quite-ready writing that comes down the pike (as all agents and editors know), but even among the GOOD writing examples, there are so many shades of yes and no--and it all has to do with personal taste, sense of style, and flat-out opinion.

All that to say--keep writing!  And grand applause to our five winners--not just for winning the critiques, but for being brave enough to throw your work into the public arena for professional scrutiny.  No small thing, that!   Applause, too, for your good work.

As for me, I'm happy to report that I've just become unstuck after over a week of stuckness on a backstory point.  There's nothing quite like going absolutely nowhere for eight or nine days, right?  So now that I think (hope!) I've finally got this thing nailed, I can continue with my rewrite.

I've ramped up my ballet recently by adding a second class to my week.  You've heard me gush about my ballet classes before--but you haven't heard me gush about MY NEW TEACHER.  He (yes! HE!) is absolutely amazing.  I am swimming in major teacher crush.  He's a beautiful dancer and a wonderful teacher.  And on my first day in class, he told me that I had nice feet.

Biggest.  Compliment.  Ever.  If you dance, you know what it means to have "nice feet".  Believe me, my feet are SO not where they need to be, but that little bit of affirmation has made me more determined than ever to work harder and get better.

(On Monday he said that I had "great power" in my legs.  I may have to hire this guy to follow me around and say positive things to me all day.  Though, Mr. A. already knows about my legs, because I kick him when he snores.  Yes, I do.  Don't judge. ;) )

Sad part?  I had an x-ray on my left big toe this week because it's been bothering me (and interfering with my releve and demi-pointe).  Diagnosis?  Teeny-tiny bone spur.  Dr. Toes wants me to wrap it in K-tape for classes, and to get this weird shoe insert thing to keep it immobile during the day so that the inflammation has a chance to go down.

Just...ugh.  Right?

So now I'm seriously looking into essential oils, which I'm learning are extremely beneficial in treating bone spurs.  And yes, popping a couple of Ibuprofen before class, just to give myself an edge.

It's so freeing to lose myself so completely in something I love, without the pressure of having to be really good at it.  (Because I'm not.)  I'm not going to let my dumb toe stop me.

Story of my life, right?  Pressing on through adversity, not giving up when obstacles clog the way.  But you already know all these things--because you're doing the same thing I am.

I love that we're in this thing--and LIFE--together.

Have a joyful weekend!


  1. Hooray for being unstuck! So glad to hear it. :)

    Sorry about the bone spur. I hope the essential oils help a lot. Take care...

  2. I broke my right big toe last summer and it still hurts when I wear too tight shoes or if I'm on my feet too long. I had to tape mine too. Hopefully, yours will heal quickly. As a former ballet dancer I know how important it is to have "nice feet." Kudos on that.

    And hooray for being "unstuck." I was stuck on my latest WIP but left it alone for a week and now I'm back to it. I ended up deleting most of it and starting over because it wasn't going anywhere. Now it is, so yay.

    I liked the First Line contest (even though I wasn't picked) so more of these quick contests would be nice. Thanks for all you do!

  3. Nice feet? AWESOME! I dance too (not ballet, swing!) and I know how important the feet are, so major kudos there.

    And I'm so glad that you talk about your non-writing hobby. So many people get into the mindset that if you're a writer that's the only thing you do. I'm glad you're showing people another way!

  4. i really loved the firt line grabber. I think just popping in to say yes or no and why was easy enough for me to hit them all. And then having five bigger selections for deeper crits wasn't so big a number, so i was able to crit all of them.

    Most my favorites made it into the finale. Some of those lived up to their openings and some didn't, but they all had something in them, some sort of spark, that i'm pretty sure they'll all go far.

    And yay for dancing! But booooo on bone spurs

  5. YAY everyone! First Line Grabber was realistic and fun. I loved having an opportunity to glean tips from the agent critiques. Thank you so much for that.

    While I could see grabbiness in all the stories, only one fit my interests exactly. Aaaaaand--that's what agents, publishers and readers do. Pick a manageable number from a field of interesting options.

    Good work, Authoress!

  6. As much as I love everything you do on here, I think I love your Friday Fricassees the best. They make me smile and give me hope, everything I need to keep on going. :)

    And I loved the First Lines. Two of my faves made it, but I haven't got a chance to read them in full yet.

    Bummer about the bone spur. My husband had one once, because of his high arches. Now he's picky about his shoes and insoles and hasn't had any problems since. So glad you're going the safe route instead of scary cortisone shots, which is what they recommended to my husband. He had one shot-- and lost the sight in one eye. Turns out that's a known side effect that they "neglected" to tell him. (This was before you could look things up on the internet. Yes, we're that old.) His sight did come back, thank goodness, but now we research EVERYTHING!

  7. Oh, DJ, how scary!! O___O Yeah, my doctor said the next step would be a shot, but I've already told him no. Absolutely, positively no steroid shots for this gal! I'm glad your husband's sight returned!!

  8. Hoping your foot gets better soon! I love how you pursue dancing out of the love it- and I bet you're better than you think you are. =)

  9. When you reveal your true you identity, it'd be kinda cool to see videos of your dance classes. Just because you seem to enjoy them so much, and it's kinda nice to get "in" to that world. Do any of your books involve dance?

  10. What was interesting about the First Line Grabber for me was that there were a couple entries I didn't think much of when I read their opening lines alone. But once I saw more I was really impressed. One entry I still didn't really get into until I read the first pages. It was cool that the agents saw something in it before I did.

  11. I also enjoyed this contest. Most of my favorites made it in. A few things were made very clear. First lines are very important, but they aren't everything. Even if you have a killer first line, the next couple of lines must also be good to cement interest. Each word, and its placement is important. And, reader's won't be fooled by a killer first line, if the rest of the opening doesn't support it.

    The 2 pages showed how tricky it is to insert enough information in at the beginning to keep the story rolling smoothly along, but not digress into excessive backstory.

    Thanks to all the writer's who bravely offered their material for critique. And many thanks to the agents who took their time to express their thoughts. An education, in itself.

    Thanks to you, Authoress, for this fun and interesting excercise.

  12. It's nice to get such a fun non-writing-y update from you. Good luck with your ballet!

  13. Many thanks, Authoress, for this special round of First line grabber/ first lines / first pages!

    And thanks to the agents, authors and especially MSFV readers for the interesting critiques & generous encouragement.