How did I miss that?

Hello fellow bloggers, writers, and readers of blogs. Today I want to once again, address the art of analyzing someone’s work.

As an artist working with one of America’s most exceptional talents in the industry, I learned that my ego must not get into the way of my desire to learn the craft.  Transitioning from Bob Ross style paintings to portraits is a huge transition. This transition from painter to artist requires humbling, character evaluation, and yes, practice.

As artistic folks, we often skip over or try to jump over those first two.  In short, we let ourselves get in the way of our end goal.  You have no doubt heard the phrase “you are your own worst enemy.”

We walk before we run, and we crawl before we walk.  I write about enlightenment in many of my novels, even the somewhat naughty ones.  Why?  There is truth to it.

Too many times, I meet folks who are drawn to a group to be a writer, without a clue of how to string a noun and verb together in the same sentence. They read Harry Potter, and think they can do it too!

Maybe they can, and I would never tell them not to try.  I would suggest that they look at the trail blazed before them by some of the greats and, even the not so greats. How did they do it?

In our world of writing, we seldom have people who will objectively read our work and give it a fair hearing.  Objectivity with another writer is difficult for some reasons.

  • Did we like the Genre?
  • Do we like their style?
  • Are we a writer, and do we compare them to us?
  • What is our level of education?
  • What is theirs?
  • Do we like the person?

There are many factors that we could weave into this, but the truth of it is, that writing is subjective.  Your family might tell you “it was nice dear.”  They might say to you, straight up that it sucked, because they are jealous. Maybe it does suck.

Always ask why.

Here we run into the first problem. Ok, someone read it, and they offered you feedback. Was what they said motivated by any of the bullet points above?  Who knows?

I was reading a how-to book by a famous author and found a typo.  The voice inside my head said, “Ahaaa, I got you now Black Bart, you are flawed!”  * Immediately I scolded myself as that is the part of me that I try so hard to kill.  Why would I find gratification in an error made by “this person of notoriety?” This book went through countless edits and publishers how could they make this mistake.

Nobody is perfect. 

My short novel Tipping Point came back to me with red ink and grammar errors and stuff.

Some of these errors were because I wrote it and I knew the story so I assume like many of us do that so will the reader.  “That is what we are looking for in critique groups.”

You wrote it, so you are too close to it to judge it on its own merits.  Your fellow writers or critique partners, while they might be biased by some of the bullet points above, they might also have some valid concerns.  This is where you as the writer must; I repeat must put that ego in the barn.

Allow them to feel good about finding the dangling participle.  Who cares?  You submitted it for critique because you are humbling yourself to your peers.  That takes guts!  It takes courage!  It is a step to growth, not only as a writer but a human.  Allowing others to assist you also is a step for them.

You who follow me here can play along if you like.

I gave the group Tipping Point a work I did two years ago which started as a ten thousand word short story.  My goal was to write stories that people could read at lunch.  It has since morphed into 14K words, and from tonight’s session, I am told it should be a novel.

Currently, Tipping Point is on Kindle Unlimited so you prime folks can read it free.  In your Kindle app, you can make notes and so on.

If you are a writer, there will be value to you, as I will share all of the critiques on the blog once the project is finished.

Of course, in the comments, you can read what people say too. If you are inclined to learn along with me, please feel free to do so.

In the comments section, you can offer your feedback on the project as it goes.  With each iteration, I will upload it to Kindle Unlimited, and you can follow up there.

When you as a reader offer a critique of something, I am not interested in grammar, punctuation or dangling participles. (At this time.)

  • Did the story flow well for you?
  • Could you identify with the characters?
  • What did you like about the story and why?
  • What did you not like about the story and why?
  • Were the transitions easy to follow, and if not why not?
  • If you were the writer, what would you change to make it better?

After the story is put together, we can worry about the rest of the details like punctuation.

One of the people who read it said it pissed her off!  This truly made me happy.

Can you think of why having one of my characters piss someone off would make me happy?

Yes, one of our goals as writers is to pull emotions out of you as the reader.  I want you to laugh, cry, get angry and get happy throughout my stories. As a writer, I intend to grow learning from what works and what does not.

We are the sum total of our successes and failures.  If you sit there and never try, it is a life wasted.

I have over 30 novels selling well around the world.  Some of them I know sell for their subject matter alone.  Some of them sell because of my style.  Few leave feedback.

With this group and others like it, I intend to not only elevate my potential as a writer but as many of you that care to share the journey with me, through this blog and of course my website and novels.

As time permits, I will read your works and offer feedback, so there is that back scratching thing we can do.

Follow me on Twitter @authortwscott.com

www.authortwscott.com

Of course, follow me on this blog…

The more the merrier, tell a friend!

Much Love -TW

Critique-How, Why and are you Qualified?

Is your ego ready for this?

As a writer of over 32 novels and counting, I have not had the benefit of a critique partner, or group.

Grammarly and other artificial intelligence can only take you so far in the creative process.  Typos and other grammatical errors are inconsequential if your story sucks.

The problems are many, but mainly we writers are a solitary bunch.  Many days, if it were not for my business, I would speak with no one. My characters and stories become my life, as I am confident, do many of yours.  We sit here in solitary with the keyboard making its little clicking sounds as, “our music.”  That is ok to me, and probably many of you too.

“Is it really ok?”

First, we must recognize that we are social creatures and are meant to be that way to keep from being maladjusted in this world of other social beings.  Some of us live out in the country, and I envy you!

If you are reading this, you have the internet. With that tool, you no longer need to be an island all on your own.  We, you and I share a bond, the many do not share.  We share the passion for creating things with our minds.  We create realms, and people, and are very much like God him or herself. Yes, I did it; I assigned God a position in life by anthropomorphizing God as a being, like us.

With this internet and access to this blog and others like you, we, you and I can share stories or ideas.  You and I can, in fact, offer constructive criticism on your WIP.

When starting, your ego might be fragile, and it is ok to ask your partner to go a little easy.  I have stated in previous blogs, for the person offering the criticism to look for the good stuff and mention it, before you deliver the crushing reality of what they are doing wrong, “in your opinion.”

Allow me to emphasize that opinion part.

I sent a story out to my critique group which is comprised of all types of people.  The nerd among them who I respect, and care about, tore the story apart as the science in his “opinion” sucked.  The story was a romance based around weak science much like the flux capacitor. The science was, in fact, a focal point only to build the story.

In most romances, the characters are the focal point and the “event” is the supporting trope.

The others in the group loved the story.

As you think of your audience, you should also consider what they tell you from their viewpoint. As my mother used to say, “Consider the source.”

We will be talking much more about this in the future, as I very much like to pay it forward, to other writers out there.  “Yes, that means you!”

Along with this subject, I will be spending much more time writing about all aspects of writing.  Why?

As I learn, one of the best ways to cementing that knowledge is to “teach” it.  Why not teach you, my followers, if that sort of thing is of value to you.

As we move into the holiday season, many of you will have some time, and I pray that you use it to spend with family and friends.  We writers need to divest ourselves of the computer every now and then and live.  I know what I am asking because I would much rather spend time with my characters and you, then family.  Truthful I know, but it is what it is.

What can you do?

  • If you are not already a follower of me here, do that.
  • Offer some opinions on my writing here, if nothing else.
  • The novel I let the group read is Tipping Point, and it is free on Kindle Unlimited. Read it and give me some feedback before I re-write it.

Currently, I am teaching myself more about Dialogue, and I will be sharing what I learn with you here, as again, I am a firm believer in paying it forward.  Dialogue is the most essential part of your fiction, and if you blow it, you are wasting your time.

If you have a subject that interests you, let us know here in the comments.

Share this with your friends and followers as we strive to perfect our craft.

Much Love and Happy Holidays!  -TW