Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Romantic Critter

After a long hiatus, I signed up for Critters Writers Workshop again. I've got a completed manuscript and I need to sharpen my critical skills.

As I've noted before, learning how to write a helpful, honest and *diplomatic critique can do wonders for your ability to assess your own work. And it's just a good writing exercise.

(*Yeah. I know that for some, it just isn't a critique unless it draws blood. But as someone who excels at "nasty," writing a diplomatic critique is much harder than shredding someone's ego.)

I'd recommend Critters even to non-Fantasy, SF or horror writers. Sign up; read the material on the site regarding critiques, and spend a few months practicing your critique skills. The great thing about Critters is that it's well organized and each week there are loads of manuscripts to pick from. Most are short stories, so reading doesn't require a huge time investment. You aren't required to submit anything.

I've found that my approach to critiquing has changed. Once upon a time, I'd critique anything. Stuff with no discernible voice, grammatically challenged, POV head hopping, bizarre characterization and "has this person ever had a real conversation with anyone?" dialogue, etc. Nowadays, I approach the Critters queue like an editor. If it's clearly a train wreck or just bland, I bail and look for another manuscript.

But I'm debating whether I should bother submitting my current completed novel to the queue. Critters has a means of getting entire novels critiqued (I'm reading someone's novel right now). The problem is my latest is a paranormal romance. Romance. With sex and relationshippy stuff.

Critters is a diverse group and chances are I can at least get some feedback on the first two chapters. Chances are I'll also get a few lectures from the genre police, or worse yet, the romance haters. "Romance is silly and not real writing." Ugh.

There are some romance critique groups out there, but as far as I can tell, nothing as well organized as Critters. Guess I'm spoiled.

On that note, I'm off to Critters. It's Wednesday, and the latest batch of manuscripts should be up.

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