Thursday, February 23, 2012

Critiques, or Not

So, how do you feel about Critiques and Critique partners or Critique groups?

There used to be a lot of controversy about whether they were really needed.

Some writers say absolutely. But then they seem to be in a very successful critique relationship of some kind, whether with partners or a group.

I have heard a Lot of people so damaged by ‘critiques’ that they are reluctant to share their writing efforts and do so very slowly.

I can understand that, I remember a JRW Writing Show a year or so back on the subject of critique groups. I remember the organizer of a successful one she was in telling me in no uncertain terms that a bad critique group was worse than not having one.

I came across this recently talking about Critique group.

Why a Critique Relationship is Crucial for Better Writing

Interesting perspectives about how it’s like finding a husband / mate, you do a lot of searching and a lot of kissing of toads.

Was also interesting, one of them believes you change and grow along the way as a writer so you will do that with critique groups as well.

What do you think?

By the way, critique according to definitions I find is ‘criticize’ but it’s not just bash someone with all the negatives, it’s giving an honest opinion, yes, but it’s about pointing out the things you Did like as well as the things you didn’t.

After all, it’s all just personal opinion, isn’t it? Even when agents are found and books are sold, it’s still about the personal opinion and trying to find others that agree with it enough to buy it.

If you are looking for a critique group to try James River Writers events are a good place to start. There’s usually a listing around of critique groups in the area.

And it just so happens there’s an event tonight, JRW Writing Show. So come see if you can find your Charming critique partners / group.

If too late notice here put March 14th and March 29th on your calendar, it’s the next JRW Writers events. March 14th, Writers Wednesday - JRWs casual get-togethers, and yes, in a bar [Capital Ale - at Innsbrook for March], but a Different kind of bar scene…… well, maybe not so different if you like the analogy of finding a critique group like finding a mate…….

Guess that’s for you to decide. ;)

So what do you think about critique partners / groups? And what has your experience been, good? Or not so good?

And how are you working the critique thing?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How Expensive is Your Life

I know I’ve been absent from the ‘social’ sphere of things, not just from blogs, but all the rest as well. Do you ever get overloaded with everything in your life? All the to-dos. That are not getting all done.

Not to mention all the ‘real’ things in life to deal with, cooking cleaning, laundry…. and so on, and on, and on. More if you have children, husbands, jobs, etc…and all that goes with all that.

Never really ends, does it? And yes, I Do realize, and am Very Thankful, for the life I have and the wonderful husband I have. Still means there’s a Lot to do. And just because your life is different, doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges and troubles in all our lives.

To lighten things up a bit, sortta, I will say, Like dust bunnies. They happen to us all. Don’t they? If they don’t happen to you I want to know why and how. I think.


I am trying to get organized and make things easier to tackle. Course that means taking the time to get organized and things in place to begin with. Which is what I’ve been tackling. Still a work in progress. Although I am seeing progress. I’m pretty sure.

Even though I haven’t exactly kept up with blogs, and twitter, and the rest, I have been reading emails and such. [Yeah, you noticed I said reading. ;} ]

Which brings me to another reason I’ve been a bit absent here. I was gearing myself up to start posting more - okay, so I was trying to come up with more interesting things to say than talk about dust bunnies and cleaning and trying to keep ahead of those things, when I started getting emails about people leaving comments on old blog posts. They were flagged as suspicious so I deleted them. Okay so they were also in Russian and some people think I have problems with English let alone with another language….. But my smart husband said did you translate them before you deleted them?


Yeah, that’s how blank I was. I plead dust mite overload, just so you know. [Nasty looking teeny little critters, btw.]

My husband isn’t all that proficient in languages either. His field, science. Yeah, told you, he’s smart.

So I did have a bit of reason to look at him blankly.

….. But yes, he did sigh. I’m pretty sure. [Yeah, like I’m sure That’s new.] Then proceeded to ask me where the Russian comments to my blog were… uh, deleted. Not to come back apparently no matter what beseeching I did while looking at the screen. But I did have the emails….

Google Trans. to the rescue. Translation.

Uh, I’m Really Really Sorry for all those people whose comments I deleted.

And espec. The comment -

'Subject: amusing blog

Strange but true. Your life is expensive.'

Uh, I am not sure exactly how to take that - perhaps just a translation error, what do I know about languages and all. But made my brain go off into musings.

Oh, yeah, like your brain doesn’t? If you are a writer…. It does right?

I’ve read - I used to read a Lot, before guilt about not fighting dust bunnies and disorganization enough took over ---- anyway, I’ve read that for all the stuff we have we pay a price. To dust it, clean it, store it, …. you get idea. I’m not at hoarder stage, thank God, but I do have rather a lot of books. [ Books are our Friends. As are a lot of writers. ;-) ]

So yeah, there is a price for all the things in our lives.

And my brain started musing on the price of our lives…… and the price in terms of more than just money.

What price do we pay for our lives? What price to we pay for our dreams? Or for not following them?

What do we pay for our lives, not in just money terms, but all the rest of it?

Dangerous path to trod, huh?

And to avoid that path, for the moment anyway, I shall get back to organizing and cleaning, and oops, that load of laundry still in the dryer, and the one in the washer that needs to go to the dryer. [And there’s going to have to be all the folding and putting away at some point.]

Then there’s always the great distraction and education that goes on at the James River Writing Shows - which there is one tomorrow night for you to come to and check out.

And since I’ve had rather a heads up on the March Writing Show, I will let you know you should definitely put that on the calendar now to go to. That’s all I’m saying about it. For now. ;)

The Writing Shows are such a small price to pay for what they give you.

And what price do you pay for your life?

Is your life expensive?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Finding Your People

I’m not talking about relatives or people you are related to. Or probably not. But it is the South, and those of us raised in or around the South know how those things go. [If you don’t, you’re obviously not from around here. ‘nuff said?]

What I’m really talking about is finding people you can relate to. And as a lot of us know, Especially in the South, that’s not necessarily your relatives.

It’s nice to have someone to talk to. That understands you. And hopefully respects you and your work. [See above South comments]

It’s Especially nice to have all that when you are a writer. Especially a ‘beginning’ writer. Or maybe just a struggling one, no matter how ‘beginning’ you are.

It’s what a writer friend refers to as finding people from the same planet so you don’t feel like such an alien.

And haven’t we all had enough of Those experiences!

Some writers get that understanding from on-line communities and groups.

Luckily in the Richmond, Virginia area, there’s James River Writers. And all the opportunities they offer to meet up with writers, of all kinds and types.

Every month, the second Wednesday of every month, there’s Writers Wednesday, a casual get together where writers can come and feel like a part of the same planet. No matter how alien their writing and characters really are.

That’s the Second Wednesday of the month. Like February 8th is the 2nd Wednesday. Yes, Tonight!

Writers Wednesday is rotating around the Richmond area so all writers have an opportunity to come and meet others that understand. Feb., Mar., April will be at Capital Ale in Innsbrook, you lucky West End people you.

Sign up for the JRW e-letter for updates and notices of all the writerly happenings in the area. And check out the old JRW site for now, but get ready to check out the New one that will be launching the end of February.

Something to look forward to. Just like the JRW Writing Show that is the Third Thursday of the month.

Every month gives you opportunity to meet your alien…, your relatives in the writing world. Just like being on the same planet.

Sometimes a weird writing planet, but at least you know you aren’t alone.