Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Fricasee

Happy Last Friday Of February!

I've absolutely decided to believe the groundhog this year.  Enough of this winter thing already.

So, a fun round, yes?  And some good feedback; as always, thank you for giving your time to this community.

I did notice this time that the HUGE amount of page views didn't line up with the number of crits tumbling into my inbox.  I'm wondering--and hoping I'm wrong--if some people felt intimidated by the "agented" or "published" status of the entrants.

All writers have first drafts, full of warts and bumps, that need a critical eye. All writers have second and third drafts that STILL need a critical eye.

Please don't hesitate to offer your critique to any author based on a sense of "well, he/she's agented, so what can I possibly offer?".

You can offer A WHOLE LOT.

Just sayin'.  I love (love! love!) this community, and I want you feel free to offer whatever you have here.

And I'm not saying this because I've "arrived" somehow.  Yeah, I fall into the "agented" category now, but I still struggle with feeling woefully inadequate when critiquing manuscripts for my crit buddies.

I mean, some of them are published already.  Some of them have been writing longer than I have.  Some of them are supernatural beings.

Okay, not really.  But you know what I'm saying.

So please.  Words are words, regardless of who wrote them.  Never hesitate to offer thoughtful critique.

Speaking of which: Write On!, our new blog for teens, is having its very first Are You Hooked? round this weekend.  You are WARMLY INVITED to pop by and offer your critique to these brave teen writers!  There will be a maximum of 10 entries, so it's not a truckload of reading.

And I know these aspiring authors would greatly appreciate your feedback.

Anyway, the posts will be up Saturday morning.  Thanks ahead of time for anything you can offer!

And HUGE thanks to A Writer Gone Mad, affectionately known as "Mad," for running the crit round.  She and Lizzy (forum manager) daily remind me how awesome teens are, and why it is I write for them.

Have an awesome weekend!


  1. Thank you for giving agented and published authors a forum for works-in-progress! I'd have loved more comments but the ones I received made me think -- and that is never a bad thing (dangerous sometimes, but not bad). The feedback was quite different than that of my betas -- so lots of food for thought. I am always thankful when someone takes the time to read and ponder my work - whether it's an essay, short story or novel. I hope you will do this again!

  2. Aw, you're welcome, Authoress! <3

  3. For me, it wasn't so much intimidation as it was the sheer fact that agented and pubbed authors have lots of people to look at their work. They have agents, agented/pubbed friends, a network of CPs and beta readers, editors in some cases, and tons of people who would eagerly offer to read new work if the author posted on a blog or Twitter that they needed readers. I totally understand why lots of people didn't comment. I popped over for a brief look, but I didn't comment either. It didn't seem fair to unagented, unpubbed writers who actually need help finding people to read and crit their writing. I know this is a community, but I thought the focus was on the aspiring among us.

  4. Yes, that is the focus here.

    However, many of the authors in this round WERE aspiring in the early days of this blog. I have, on numerous occasions, received hints from agented authors that they wish there were something on the blog in which they could participate.

    Because the feedback here is valuable to everyone who comes here, agented or not. This is a safe place (for the most part!) and writers have come to trust the feedback here.

    I wanted to offer that to them. And will do so again at some point.

    Because it isn't about "tons of people who would eagerly offer to read new work." "Tons of people" does not necessary equal "quality critique." As I'm sure you know.

    And honestly? I don't think an agented author's crit circle suddenly expands exponentially just because s/he's agented. Writers tend to stick with what they know works for them. And for this round's writers, this blog WORKS for them. Agented or not. Published or not.

    We're all writers. We all need quality feedback. And we all need to feel safe when we're getting it.

  5. Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate, Authoress. I really enjoyed reading everyone's entries and appreciated the honest feedback on mine. VERY enjoyable exercise. :-)

  6. And thank you for participating, Hélène! :)

  7. I want to add a thank-you also to Authoress and to everyone who left feedback. I just don't buy that whole "Published Author" thing, personally. Yes, I sold some books to a real NY publisher. But that doesn't have anything to do with trying to write a good, sellable book NOW.

    Especially if I'm trying to move into another genre.

    Trust me, folks, when I post something here for feedback, it's because YOU are my critique partners and I value your opinions! Thanks again to everyone. (And Locksley, sorry about the exclam mark ;-)

  8. I apologize for being rude and presumptuous. The explanation makes sense, and I'm glad the crit session was helpful to people.

    This crit session was a change of pace for the blog--one that left some people baffled. I was offering an alternative explanation for the lack of critiques, one that I'm positive I'm not alone in.

    Thank you Authoress, writers, and critters, for creating this community in the first place. And apologies, again. No offense was meant.

  9. No worries, Anon!

    I'm not sure why it is baffling to extend a critique round to those who love the blog, used to be able to participate, and are glad for the opportunity for the great feedback offered here. Many of these same authors (and some who didn't submit to this round) participate in our SA contests, leaving feedback while getting nothing in return.

    Sara J Henry comes to mind. Also Holly Bodger.

    They give. And the least we can do is give back a little, even though they no longer fall under the "aspiring" umbrella.

    Well, maybe I should rephrase that. We ALL aspire to continue to grow as writers. So in that sense, they ARE aspiring.

    Please don't think you offered any offense; I appreciate your honesty. And your humility. :)

  10. Authoress,
    Thank you for doing this!
    Agented or not, I have never set pen to paper for the sake of selling something. NO REALLY. I have always written to tell a story and what is a story without readers?! Thank you to all those who took the time to read and comment. There is no way any of us will ever get any better at this craft save for readers telling us what works and what doesn't. *squeeeeeeezes this writing community* *twice*

  11. I wanted to comment but I'm so tired. It's probably a flue or something like it. Next time. Promised.

  12. As an agented author I just want to chime in that my circle of Critique Partners has not increased at all. Yes, my agent will eventually read the novel I'm writing, but in the beginning stages of something new, I'm the same as everyone else - agented, published or not.

    Maybe it's different for mega-authors. I don't know!

  13. If anything, my circle of critters has narrowed mostly because my time for active critique has become limited. So this was helpful to get feedback from those unfamiliar with my current project. I also found the reactions to an unreliable narrator quite interesting and that helped, too.

    Thank you, authoress, for opening critique for us published and agented folks. I try to comment on the hooked rounds as much as possible, but can never make it through all of them.

  14. *holds hands up* Yes, I was intimidated. I haven't been writing long. I'm getting good at putting my own stuff out there (in fact I'll plaster it just about anywhere now :P), but I just didn't feel 'qualified' (yes, it's silly, I know) to comment. I'll work my way up to it for next time : )

  15. When I was reading the samples, I didn't think about who wrote them, whether that person was agented or not, published or not. I assumed the author submitted because he/she wanted feedback. I'm not published or agented, but I would think there is also a benefit to these authors for getting feedback on an anonymous submission. If you send something to an agent, writing partner, etc., the recipient know who's sending it. In the format provided by Authoress, there aren't preconceived notions of how someone should write, what he/she has written before, and how good something should be. I don't know if I'm explaining this well, or not, but that's my take on things.

    My problem with critiquing stems more from thinking I don't have something valuable to offer. It takes me ages to come up with something other than "Wow - I loved it." Not that we don't all want to hear it, but if that's all I'd ever heard, my MS wouldn't be in the shape it's in. So I did comment, just not much. In some cases, the genre isn't one I read often, so I don't feel as qualified . Especially MG or YA. I'm only starting to read MG again after a 30+ hiatus because my kids are reading them or I'm reading to them.

    I also think my ability to write is aided by reading and critting the writing of others, regardless of the author's stage in the game.

  16. In my opinion, it's important to focus on what the "round" is about. This was an "Are You Hooked" round. Writer, reader, butcher, baker, candle-sticker-maker could say if he or is hooked -- and why. Sometimes my best readers are that. Readers. Of course the specific whys and why nots are helpful, but a simple "I wasn't hooked. I didn't like the main character because he was bossy" is great feedback. Again, my opinion. Possibly worth exactly what you paid for it.

  17. Authoress, thank you very much for continuing to help writers. ALL writers. You rule.

  18. Just wanted to pop in and mention I didn't crit this time around due to lack of time more than anything else. February is a notoriously busy month for me, unfortunately! Hopefully I'll have more time during the next round. :(