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Wannabe Writers #19

June 5, 2010

Where I am in the Writing Process: I’m currently 11, 250 words into The Lemonites. I’m having so much fun with this project. The main characters are wonderful, and they make me want to laugh all the time. It’s such a magical experience that I asked people if I was doing something wrong.

I did not plot Lemons, besides a relatively detailed synopsis, but I haven’t gotten lost yet. I’m fairly certain of where I’m headed, and I’m learning how to create scenes in my head as I write them instead of taking months to plan an entire book thoroughly.

Here’s the issue with that strategy: You get bored. Real quickly. I still enjoyed writing That Boy in the Shed, but, ultimately, I felt like I’d already spent months writing the same scenes. Not to mention that there were no surprises, not even surprise conversations, and because of that, writing became a bit monotonous.

So, yes, so far, The Lemonites kind of rocks. I can’t wait to finish it and see what other people think!

My Current Problems: None. Well, besides poor That Boy in the Shed sitting sadly in the corner. I can’t work with it until my mom finishes reading, and that may be a few months from now. This summer, it looks like I will be:

  1. Writing The Lemonites
  2. Editing That Boy in the Shed
  3. Plotting Forbidden

I know. Believe me, I know.

The Question this Week: Critique partners? Anyone have a story on where they found a good one? And ways to keep the relationship going?

I found my to-be-critique partners (you see: I have to send them stuff first) online. I think the key is to get out there. Be yourself. Be likable. And, hopefully, those two go hand-in-hand! My critique partners are my closest “writing friends” (although they’re friends in general, too). They’re people with whom I love to spend time. They’re the people who make me laugh hysterically but also have the ability to criticize my writing (with a spoonful of sugar, of course, because good friends are the ones with sugar).

And, fortunately, I’m pretty sure they like me, too! I’m eager to read their writings because I can feel the brilliance seeping through them all the time and I know that, because we have so much in common and find joy in many of the same things, I will find much to appreciate in their books. In addition, I’m not afraid to critique their work. The relationship most certainly needs to be give and take, just as any other. As a friend, I want to help them grow, while encouraging them, and see their writing go wonderful places.

Regan’s been sending me scenes from her current WIP, which, ultimately, is in the first-draft stage. Because she’s working on it right now, I’m reading as a reader. I don’t dig into every sentence and beta as I might when the goal is to improve every detail. I’m sticking to commenting with the reader mindset. For example:

I AM TOTALLY IN LOVE WITH THIS SCENE! HOLY CROW! I WANT MORE AND YOU ARE A STINKIN’ EVIL FRIEND FOR NOT WRITING AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT AND I LOVE YOU!

Naturally, just as readers do, I will mention when things sound awkward, when I’d like to see more emotion coming through character’s actions, etc. I will not, however, disect the scene. I don’t want to distract the writer from the main first-draft goal: to write an engaging book. Finish it.

When it’s time for edits, the goal shifts to: write well-constructed sentences and delete as many adverbs as possible.

At this moment, it’s time for the writer to be a writer and the reader to be a reader. Later, it will be time for us to switch to the editing job.

So, for now, saying something like the above quote is perfect. For now, I am a reader.

As far as betas/critique partners go, I believe there are three crucial parts to play and an order in which to play them…

  1. Friend.
  2. Reader.
  3. Editor.

What has been your experience with critique partners? What’s your opinion on my “Friend. Reader. Editor.” theory?

P.S. I wrote a majority of this post either in a rush or way past my bedtime. So don’t judge!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 9, 2010 1:16 PM

    Hm, friend reader editor…I actually do friend, editor, reader! I guess it’s just a slightly different process. Then again, I rarely agree to read anything that’s in first draft stage. I want the writer to have given it their own edits first. It’s courtesy. I would never give anyone a first draft mss either.

  2. June 8, 2010 4:58 PM

    I haven’t tried outlining yet, but I’m pretty sure I’d be bored when actually writing it or disappointed in myself for not following the outline close enough.

    Great job on all the writing! That’s fantastic! Three projects at once is crazy (in a good way).

    I like the Friend, Reader, Editor theory. I could never show my work to someone who didn’t love me enough to 1) tell me the truth and 2) tell it to me nicely. I also like the theory of reading first and then editing. I have trouble not nit-picking while I read.

    Another great post, per the usual. I didn’t even realize it was rushed until I got to the bottom. 🙂

  3. June 7, 2010 5:57 PM

    That Regan chick sounds awesome.

    😉

  4. June 7, 2010 8:38 AM

    Great advice and encouragement on finding the right critique partners. Loved this line the most: “I think the key is to get out there. Be yourself. Be likable. And, hopefully, those two go hand-in-hand!”

    So glad that you are enjoying writing the Lemonites so much. There is nothing more wonderful than when words, thoughts, and scenes flow freely and you are completely in love with your book and the characters.

  5. June 6, 2010 5:12 PM

    It’s great to have friends that can help you with the editing process. Not sure I have too many that are able to complete that for me, which is why I look for them in writing groups. Good luck with your projects, sound like you will have a busy summer.

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