And it’s only July…!
I’m not sure if I’m supposed to stop or keep going… I suppose I’ll just keep going!
Critiques and beta readers… they’re how our craft gets richer, our writing more fab-tabulous, and our manuscripts closer to published. But do we all know how to accept the feedback when it comes?
I think I’m better now. I’ve taken a crash course in how to receive feedback. Here are my top five tips:
Seriously people. Someone’s just taken the time to read your work and give you feedback. That’s huge. So maybe the feedback isn’t what you wanted to hear…? Continue reading
I know. I used to be posting every week and browsing through all your awesome posts. And then suddenly… nothing.
It’s like I walked off the edge of a cliff or sailed for Mars or something. Fear not… I’m still here, and I’m still sitting at the same desk. Just doing different stuff.
You see, I blog about books I’ve read…
…and writing I’ve done.
And basically, the only books I’ve read this past month are textbooks (and you don’t want me to blog about those)…
…and apart from a few stolen moments, the only writing I’ve done is academic.
(And trust me, you don’t want that either!)
So this is me, checking in, giving you all a high five because you’re all fabulous, and then logging back out to finish my current uni assignment.
Because if I don’t, this blog will morph into procrastination, and we don’t want that, do we!
Take care awesome people!
I’ve signed up for the 2017 Australian Women Writers Challenge!
The challenge I’ve set myself for this year (apparently it’s called the Franklin…) is:
Of course, I’ll be reviewing in the Children’s Books area, which should be a joy because we have so many awesome women writers making awesome books for kids and young adults.
In fact, I just read one today :o).
Back in 1910, this was how children’s books rolled. It’s one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite series as a child – the famous Billabong books by Mary Grant Bruce.
I can just imagine turning up to my critique group with a sentence like this in a middle-grade manuscript… I don’t think they’d laugh me out of the house, but only because they have excellent self-control. And yet I spent hours dreaming of riding horses on a cattle farm in outback Australia because of these books!
The power of words, be they strange or familiar…
Recently someone was telling me how historical kidlit fiction should use modern language to avoid alienating the readership. I’m not so sure. There was something about Bruce’s writing that immersed me in her time.
However, I draw the line at anything like the quote above…!
As an ex-librarian, when I found the first ‘Dork Diaries’ on the WRONG SHELF, no – <gasp> – make that the WRONG ENTIRE SIDE of the Junior Fiction section of my library, I knew I had to help it find its way home.
Except when I picked it up, I immediately recognised the title, and took it out instead.
Yes, I hear what you’re saying… ‘But, Heather… this book was published in 2009! How can you not have read it yet?!’
That’s cool – I believe in better late that never when it comes to books.
My first take-home from this book is it’s not entirely my thing. And that’s completely fine because gazillions of other people think it’s their thing. So it’s still valuable to review why it worked. I don’t need (or even want) to write a book just like it (no one should for any book), but I can incorporate some of the winning ingredients into my own writing.
My second thought was about how different this ‘girl’ book was from funny ‘boy’ books of a similar ilk. More focus on clothes and looks and the opposite sex. Hmmm…
My favourite thing is the way MC Nikki keeps on saying all these awesome and/or outrageous things, and then tells us it was only in her head. A clever trick. I would internally gasp, like ‘Did she really say that?’ and then find she didn’t. Sometimes I was relieved, sometimes I was disappointed!
‘But I just said it in my head, so no one else heard it but me.’
And you know what else I love? In the acknowledgments, author Rachel Renee Russell thanks her agent who saw ‘the potential of this book when it was merely fifty rambling pages about a quirky girl and her fairy godmother.’ This book no longer has a fairy godmother. (Quirky girl? Still a tick.)
From that, I figure that compelling character and great writing will win out. Maybe we don’t need to get that submission perfect. Maybe, even if it’s the wrong genre aimed at the wrong age group, if we write well enough someone will see the potential.
Write on, people!
So, I want to shed 7,000 words from one of my WIPs. It’s about 350 pages long…
Ever the mathematician, I figured it was as simple as deleting 20 words per page and – hey presto – I’d be at my magical number.
100 pages into my cull, and I’m down 1,500 words. Roughly, that equals NOT ENOUGH.
As one of my bosses used to love to say: “Toughen up Princess”. This is not even murdering my darlings, this is just 20 puny words per page. I can do this!
Step 2 is going to be Murdering Some Of Those Darlings (hey, why hold back? entire scenes even??!), so I hope I can step up the word removal before I get to that. I want this draft to be within the accepted norm for word count for a Young Adult.
Cut cut cut!
Celebratory fishcakes and pho!
Today I hit the 50K mark while writing with mates at our local Vietnamese cafe! A perfect place and time, with my fellow Laptop Ladies there to high-five.
I have a hot pot of tea at the ready, plenty of mind-nurturing snacks on my desk, and my MC is literally falling off the side of a mammoth mountain and I need to save her.
This is no time for procrastination.
(‘What did you just call me?’ asks my blog.)
However, I also just tipped 40,000 words on the SnowNaNo, so…
Whoo hoo! Pat myself on the back!
Now, get back to it…
That’s what I want to see! I’ve cracked the 25K mark on my snow-filled (affectionately dubbed SnowNaNo, but as yet unnamed) junior fiction novel, and the night is still young. In fact, it’s also only the 14th.
Cause for celebration.
I love my manuscript! I love my characters!
Perhaps most of all, I love the Word Sprints page under ‘Inspiration’. It took me 3 NaNoWriMos to find it, 5 seconds to randomly choose a 20 minute sprint, 20 minutes to write 600+ words, and a nanosecond to realise how awesome that was. I’m a word sprinter through and through now.
What’s working for you?