Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Live Brainstorming Session with The Shredder aka Danica, Camy & Cheryl and CRITIQUE GIVEAWAY
Hey all! Cheryl here...
Have a special treat for you. Today's guestblogger is my good friend and critique partner-extraordinaire, Danica Favorite-McDonald. Danica, Camy Tang and I are in a critique group together. Because of our raw honesty we refer to our crit group as The Shredder...hence the photo.
Dream uses those horns to point out my plot holes. Camy keeps those fangs sharp and ready to chew my heroine's arm off at the first sign of whine or wimp. And of course there's a halo above my head because I NEVER say anything bad about their books...ahem! Well, errr...maybe I DO since the halo is black. LOL!
In addition to talking about cohesive critiquing, Danica and later Camy, will help me brainstorm a book in real time, here in the comment section of Seekerville. Feel free to dive in with input, questions, etc.
Everyone who leaves a comment by Midnight CST tonight will be entered into a drawing for a free, first chapter critique by moi.
Be sure to leave your e-mail address as you chime in with questions or thoughts as we go along. How this will work is I will post my scenario in the comment section and the girls will respond and this will go on until I've worked the bugs out of my plot. Danica, Camy and I have not yet brainstormed this story...so what you see unfolding in the comment section will be live and in real time and what you'd hear if you were with us during one of our brainstorming sessions either by phone or IM.
We hope you will see how a cohesive critique group can help on the front end of your writing too, during the brainstorming phase, which is going to also be the time you'll be able to determine whether your story has a solid foundation of structure. Without further ado...here's Danica:
Working with a critique group-
Hey Seekers! Thanks for having me back again. Cheryl asked me if I'd join you for a discussion on working cohesively with a critique group. For those who don't know, Cheryl Wyatt and Camy Tang are my critique partners. Today's post is going to be a little different from what you're used to (we hope!), so bear with us if it seems a bit weird. Because today, you guys are going to get a peek inside how we work together. At the end of this post, you're going to see a sample of what it looks like when we brainstorm together. Throughout the day, keep checking back, because we're going to continue the critique in the comments.
Before we begin, I want to share our rules for critiquing.
Be honest!! It hurts a lot less to hear from each other that
there's something wrong than it does to hear it from an editor.
The very worst thing in the world to hear as we're sharing the
rejection letters is, “oh, I thought that too.” Really? Then why
didn't you say so in the first place!!
The guiding principle here is Proverbs 27:6 “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” I'll be honest. We like hearing what we do well. But when all we hear is “your writing is so wonderful,” it does not help us grow as writers. We are VERY tough on each other because we love each other enough to want to help each other grow.
Be open to changing. If you're looking for the kisses, send your
book to your grandma and don't expect to sell. Your grandma will
give you little gold stars and frame your babies. However, your
critique partner may ask you to kill them. Every baby I've had to
kill has made me a better writer.
Don't take it personally. Whew! This one is hard. We all put a
little of ourselves into what we write, and sometimes being told
something doesn't work feels like an attack on who we are. “I hate
this and this about your heroine” can feel a lot like “I hate you”
when you've put those pieces of you into her. Just remember, this
is fiction, and what sells fiction is different than what we love
(or don't love) about our friends.
Understand and accept each other's processes. Camy ripped one of
my stories to shreds. She didn't say she liked it, so I assumed
she hated it. In her mind, since she didn't tell me she hated it,
I should have assumed she liked it. Once I realized that Camy's
process is more about telling me what to fix, I learned to trust
that if she hated a story, she'd say so. She learned that I always
assume the worst, so she needs to reinforce the positive.
Remember to tell each other the good. Camy, Cheryl, and I refer to
each other as the shredders because we literally shred each
other's manuscripts. But we LIVE to hear the compliments. After
I'm done critiquing, I go back through the manuscript and find a
couple of places where I can show them something they've done
that's really good.
And now for the critique!!
Check the comment section for Cheryl's set up then Danica's (and later today, Camy's) response:
Cheryl, Danica & Camy aka The Shredder :-)