A Sticky Situation

checklist-310092_150Sometimes, as fellow writers, we are asked to participate in groups and events that have the potential to result in hard feelings or damaged relationships.  We authors can be a sensitive bunch, for all that we are told to develop thick skins.  I ought to know. Yet, without the feedback from our fellows how are we to know when we are missing the grade?

There are two conflicting urges we must deal with concurrently when offering our opinions on the work of others. This is especially so when we are in personal contact (as opposed to writing a review where we are not known to the author). Our first impulse is to be helpful, supportive and encouraging. But if we are to meet that goal it is imperative that we also be honest. If our honest feedback has to be less than glowing it puts us in a bind. This is even more so if the situation involves more people than yourself and the author on the hot seat. Continue reading “A Sticky Situation”

Six Ways to Drive Beta Readers Crazy

Beta readers are like gold. They are awesome, generous people who give their time to help you work the bugs out of your manuscripts before you publish. Just like anyone else you enlist or pay to help you finalize your finished product, it’s a relationship that works best when you have mutual respect, cooperation, and good communication. I’ve been a beta reader and have had my manuscripts read by them. During that time, I’ve learned that there are six guaranteed ways to ruin that relationship and drive the poor betas up the wall: Continue reading “Six Ways to Drive Beta Readers Crazy”

The Beauty of Book Clubs

“We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate.”  – Henry Miller

There is nothing so luxurious as curling up in a favorite chair with a good book. The ability to take the time to shut the world out, to lose oneself in the words and the vision of another human being is the height of indulgence. For many, a good book is nourishment, and depriving them of this sustenance is akin to starvation.

When I was working a crazy corporate job it was impossible to free read. Any reading I did was related to the telecommunications industry, and other books were reserved for the two weeks of vacation I took each year. When we relocated to Tampa I became a stay-at-home mom. I loved it.

I became close friends with my neighbor and we decided to form a book club. This was seventeen years ago, mind you, before the Oprah book club. I was diligent in the first five years or so in keeping track of the literature we devoured. Our taste is very eclectic, ranging from classics to “The Bridget Jones Diary.” Our club still exists, with five of the original members. Continue reading “The Beauty of Book Clubs”

Could try harder – C+

Author Carol Wyer
Author Carol Wyer

Having spoken to several budding novelists at Creative Writing Groups in recent weeks it has become apparent that many writers lack confidence in their ability. They have written their story or novel but are worried that it is not good enough to be published.

Well, if you have a finished product you should banish these anxieties. Of course, you could always show it to your mother. She’d probably tell you it is fantastic, unless she’s like my mother who is more likely to chew it up like a rabid pit-bull terrier and tell you to try harder.

If you can’t face criticism from those you know then how about some criticism from those who don’t know you? Even better than that, how about some constructive criticism from other writers?

After I finished Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines I didn’t know what to do next. I didn’t dare show my work to friends because I didn’t want to put them on the spot. After all, who wants to tell a friend that the novel they have just spent a year writing is awful? Continue reading “Could try harder – C+”