Thursday, 22 March 2012

Learning from Critiquing Other People's Work

Do you remember those days in school or college when you had to spend English classes pouring over fantastic work and ripping it apart? Wondering whether the author was depressed just because he happened to mention grey skies or feeling blue? 

That's not the kind of  critiquing I mean. We'll leave that to the teachers and professors. I mean a helpful critique of a fellow author's work. Looking at their book to help them see things they might have missed after the fiftieth edit. If you are a writer, you know what I'm talking about. We've all been there, and found that words blurred into mere black smudges on paper. 

I haven't done a lot of critiquing for other people's book, possibly because I only have one critique partner. More because of lack of time than anything else. But even from my limited experience, I think it's a valuable thing. I guess it's human nature that it's a lot easier to spot mistakes or faults in other people's work than your own. Then there is the matter of outside perspective as well. When it's my story, I know it's inside out, so even a little hint makes the whole scene clear. But when it's someone else's vision, I don't know what it means, and so I need clear words and story line to be able to understand it. 

Critiquing someone else's work helps you think about issues in your own work. Or at least that's how it is for me. If I say to my CP, "too passive", and a day later I find myself writing a passive sentence, I notice it. If I complain that her character is "too whiny", I notice when mine is winging for no good reason. 

What we offer to our critique partners (hopefully) is constructive feedback, and that feedback is constructive for both parties because the more effort and thought you put into reviewing their work, means the more knowledge and skill you build up to edit your own. 

What do you think? Do you feel that your experience with your CPs is mutually beneficial? Does it improve your critiquing skills for your own work?

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Bookshelf Snooping - Therese Walsh

1. Your childhood favourite: Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
2. Your current favourite: It's a tie between The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
3. Your top five authors: Believe it or not, I don't have favorite authors, just favorite books. (Though I'd never turn down a book by Juliet Marillier or Barbara O'Neal.)
4. Book(s) you’re reading now: Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris
5. Book(s) you’ve pretended to read: Ooh, good question, but I don't dare tell.
6. Book(s) you’ve bought for the cover: Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum has one of the prettiest covers I've ever seen.
7. Book you’re a champion for: Definitely the books I mentioned as favorites--The Time Traveler's Wife and The Night Circus--along with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon. I also talk about Juliet Marillier's Daughter of the Forest quite a bit, and with good reason; it's a beautifully written story.
8. Book that changed your life: The only book that changed my life, but that did truly change my life, is my novel, The Last Will of Moira Leahy. I worked on the story for six years, and wrote it twice, before it was published.
9. Book you most want to read again for the first time: All of my favorites, and I'll also include the Harry Potter series.
10. Book you turn to for comfort: Any of Barbara O'Neal's novels.
11. Favourite line from a book: I have a deep love for many first lines, but I'll stick with one of my favorite novels. "It’s hard being left behind." - from The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Be the Best You

  • Do you wish you could find the strength to be who you are, regardless of what the world (or your mom, spouse, children) want you to be? 
  • Do you want to have courage to live by your own rules, whether or not it conforms with what you "should" do?
  • Do you want to be the best you can be, and change the world one page a time? 
If you said "yes" to any of the above, I could use your help. I'm working on a new, super-exciting project, and I am trying to gauge what would my readers find most useful. 

If you didn't answer "yes" to any of the above questions but know others who might, then please share. 

If you would like to help me out, please let me know and I will send you a questionnaire by email. It should take no more than 20 minutes. Please send me an email at journaladdict [at] hotmail [dot]

Thank you in advance, from the bottom of my heart!! And even if you don't want to participate, thank you for being my reader :-) I appreciate you being here.