How to be a Good Critique Partner

Over the past several years, I’ve been very blessed to be a part of some very good critique groups. Even though writing itself is a solitary endeavor, I believe that associating with other writers – whether it’s with critique partners, a creative writing class, or a big writers conference – is vital to any writer’s growth.critique

So what are the benefits of joining a writing critique group? How do you know if your critique partners will be helpful or useful? How can you make sure that you yourself will be a good critique partner?

Details Matter

Critiquing a fellow writer’s work involves much more than just saying “I liked it.” It’s also much more than line editing, where you call out every unnecessary comma and misspelled word. Every critique group has their own set of rules and expectations, but usually groups are made up of writers submitting a first or maybe second draft, and looking for overall feedback. Does the story flow? Is there too much head-hopping or other issues with point of view? Are there confusing plot points? Do the characters feel real, or just one-dimensional? These are some good aspects to consider when you’re critiquing other’s work. Continue reading

Should Writers use their Author Platforms for Political Posts?

This post is a question – a question I don’t have an answer for. I’m truly interested in hearing from you – whether you’re a reader, a writer, or you just stumbled across my blog for the first time. I’d love to hear your opinions and views.

If there’s one thing that we can probably all agree on it’s that the political climate of America – and the world – is highly charged right now. Everyone has an opinion, and many people are not shy about voicing it. As a writer, I fully agree with this in principle – the freedom of speech is precious, and we all have a right to our opinions, even when our opinions may or may not be right.

However, in the highly charged atmosphere of today’s world, I’ve noticed some changing trends. Many authors who I follow on social media are posting more political content – some to the point of excluding all other content. I have actually unfollowed several authors on various platforms because all I see them post are political rants. Even those who post political content that I agree with I have unfollowed, because I did not initially choose to follow them for their political beliefs. I wanted to follow these authors because of the content they shared about their books, the publishing industry, writing tips, geeky book memes, or gifs of cats falling off furniture.

I am all for transparency and authenticity on social media. I believe that authors should be themselves, because people want to connect with other people, not just faceless products. Nobody likes posts of nothing but “buy my book!” Continue reading

Inspiration for the Week: Music to Write By – Color the Sky #MondayMotivation

This week I’m sharing a short but inspiring piece of instrumental music that I hope inspires you as much as it inspires me. If you’re writing, creating art of any kind, or just beginning another week at your day job, let this music take you away!

Let me know how this music inspires you this week!

Love Tropes in Stories

Even though Valentine’s Day was yesterday, I feel obligated to write a Valentines-ish post, just because. Even those of us who don’t call ourselves readers of the romance genre usually enjoy a good love story. So here are a few of my favorite couples from books/movies/shows, and the different types of loves stories they represent:

The Against-All-Odds Love – Sheridan and Delenn

This couple is from the sci-fi show Babylon 5, which I’ve blogged about many times, and which I hold up as one of the best examples of storytelling in any media. The main plot of the show is war, good versus evil, and the shades of gray in between. But there’s a little romance, too. Sheridan and Delenn have everything going against them: they’re busy leading an army, trying to save their respective governments, and dealing with cultural difficulties between the two of them because they are two different species. But they fall in love anyway, determine to make it work no matter what, and their unity makes them and those who follow them stronger for it.

Continue reading