Critique Blog Hop Week 8

It’s Sunday, and that means another addition to the Critique Blog Hop! You can click that link for more information, or check out this page on my blog for the details.

This week I’m returning to my highest priority work-in-progress – On The Surface. These are the freshest 250 from what I’ve managed to add to it over the past few weeks… my schedule just has not been kind to my creative side lately. These are also the (current) first lines of the second chapter. I’m considering changing the point of view for the story, as I feel it may be more powerful in the first person POV rather than third. Any comments or thoughts on that are welcome!

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Liza wasn’t exactly thrilled about the idea of cleaning up the house. It would undoubtedly be a huge task, and why did they have to sell it anyway? After all, the house was still filled with Pap’s belongings, and most of his wife’s. She just knew her mother would get emotional, and then her dad would become annoyed and the whole thing would go to hell. Just thinking about the impending hours in the old house was exhausting.

They pulled into the cracked cement driveway between the house and the garage. Liza couldn’t help but notice her grandmother’s rose bush was blooming beautiful, bright pink flowers. They were still somewhat closed, like roses that people get for corsages or in arrangements for special occasions. They weren’t exactly buds, but they still had some time before they would open completely. She sighed as they walked past the bush and underneath the overhang.

“I’m so glad you decided to stay home for school, Liza,” her mother said over her shoulder. “You’ll be able to help us get the house ready.”

Before she could stop herself, she rolled her eyes at her mother’s comment. Luckily, though, her mother was in front of her and wasn’t looking. She knew her parents had been nervous about her college decision, but they were not the sole reason she chose to stay home when she could have gone to the state’s best school – three hours away.

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Like what you read? Check out these great authors for more 250 word excerpts!

http://mermaidssinging.wordpress.com/

http://caitlinsternwrites.wordpress.com/

http://ileandrayoung.com

http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com

http://jennifermeaton.com/

http://richardleonard.wordpress.com

http://jordannaeast.com

http://itsjennythewren.wordpress.com/

https://wehrismypen.wordpress.com

http://jlroeder.wordpress.com

http://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/

 

Separating author from story

One of my goals for this year is to finish my work-in-progress by the end of the summer. By finish, I mean publication ready, whether that means marketing to agents or self publishing it.

Exciting, I know!

However, I am finding it difficult to tell my story in a way that will be appealing to all readers, and I think it’s because it’s such a personal story. I don’t want to give away too many details just yet, but the plotline involves my main character overcoming grief and demons regarding her grandmother’s passing which resurface with the failing health of her grandfather. She thought she’d dealt with all her problems and overcome her emotions, but now she realizes that all she did was shut them out. Cue philosophical, life-changing emotional growth!

That’s only one story arc of two or three that I’m currently playing with, but the story is so personal to me that I am getting in my own way of telling it. I plan to make this an homage to my grandparents who have passed, and as a result I have given my MC’s grandparents many of their qualities and sometimes deviate into unnecessary vignettes, etc. that don’t contribute to my plot or move my story ahead. BUT THEY’RE IMPORTANT TO ME! Just not the reader! 🙂 (Side note: See my “Words to Write By” in the upper right — I picked that quote because I feel it’s very fitting to my issue right now!)

So my challenge is finding a way to stay true to what I’ve set out to do in a way that I can live with and still tell a compelling story.

Anyone experienced this or have tips for getting over it? They’d be much appreciated!

Smashwords, anyone?

www.smashwords.com

For all you self-publishers out there (or those looking into it), I’ve heard lovely, wonderful things about Smashwords. It streamlines your manuscript into formats appropriate for Apple iBookstore, nook, kobo, Sony Reader, etc. Basically any eReader that you can think of, Smashwords can help you get there with one simple upload.

I’m not ready to self-publish at this point, so as far as personal testimony on ease of use, pricing, etc., I can’t offer much opinion. I’ve only been hearing good things about it through my new pals on Scribophile (talked about earlier this week here).

Are any of you readers ready to self-publish or have you already? Familiar with Smashwords and care to offer advice? Feel free.

Also, anyone looking to support fellow self-publishers or looking for great reads and low prices, check out Smashwords’s homepage to see what they’ve got going on. There are tons of free eBooks, and while you do have to wade through some slush, there is absolutely something there for everyone.

Great editing, supportive community at Scribophile

The reason for my latest absence from this blog (aside from a huge pickup in freelance work) is that I’ve joined Scribophile. I love it. And you should join if you’re an aspiring writer.

There are two versions, a free and a premium subscription. Due to my lack of funds, I have the free version, but it’s still a great resource for having my work edited and having people who are well-read provide constructive feedback. In fact, I’ve been inspired to take one of my short stories and try to expand it into a full length novel (which isn’t going very well so far, but I digress).

So far, I’ve posted two chapters for critique. The way the site works is that posted work enters a “spotlight” for others to critique for full “karma points.” As more works are critiqued, they leave the spotlight and others enter in.

So what’s the reward for critiquing? Karma points, which users need in order to post their own work. So, the more works you critique, the more karma you earn, and the more of your writing you can post to the site. Plus, critiquing more posted works gets them out of the spotlight faster so that your own stuff can get there.

Overall, it’s a system that works fairly well. Of course, I have a work waiting for the spotlight for over two weeks now, but that’s just because there are TONS of great writers using the website. Many of the users have been published, and it’s a great community with a lot of advice to share among authors.

Groups, forums, and contests are also available for users to interact with each other outside of critiques and exchange information. The site also has an area to announce publications and promote work, too.

Overall, my experience this far has been wonderful. I highly encourage joining!

Again, that’s Scribophile.com

Another Website for Writers

Today I wanted to share a website I came across via Twitter. It’s called Query Shark, and it’s for writers to submit their query letters to be workshopped before they send them off to potential agents or publishers. I’ve learned so much from just reading this website that I feel much more confident that I can craft a good one when the time comes.
Check it out! http://queryshark.blogspot.com/

Has anyone gone through the process of writing a query letter for a publisher or agent or anything like that? Any tips for the rest of us?

Was Perusing Tumblr Today…

And discovered the “writing” tag. I mean, I knew it was always there, of course, but I decided to actually legitimately read it today. I was impressed with how many people simply pour their souls out into a couple lines of poetry for all the world to search on tumblr without so much as a disclaimer. And here I’m only ballsy enough to put links to my edited and pre-published work!

But yes, the writing tag on tumblr. If you’re looking for a confidence boost, I highly recommend it. There’s just something about seeing other people do what you are trying to do that makes it seem a lot easier and less intimidating. Here’s the link, if you’re not familiar with tumblr: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/writing

Hope this helps anyone who’s in the space between having written and polished a project and hesitating to take the plunge into actually putting it out there for others to read. Good luck and happy writing!