A friend told me she was going to read my book in the bathroom.  At first I was a little offended by this but as I think about it at least she is reading it.  Additionally if it sits in her bathroom and other people use her bathroom they may pick it up.  This may be a whole new marketing technique that should be explored.

I’ve sold 17 copies of my book in one form or another.  Now I have to patiently wait while people read and hope they will post a review.  I’d love all positive reviews but I know that they won’t be. 

The hard part for me is as I look over the versions I’m seeing changes I would make – small changes that I would do differently.  The changes aren’t large enough to merit an update but if I find enough of them they will add up eventually.

Criticism is a part of life as an author.  I won’t be able to please everyone all the time.  Some people will take offense at my topic, writing style, amount of sex (or lack of it) in a book, or almost any aspect of the book you can think of.  All I can hope for is that most people will like the book and will be willing to give it a try.

I won’t lie – a negative review will probably hurt my feelings.  It is bound to.  I’ll get over it.  I always do.  Books are like a baby to most authors.  It is a lot of work to create characters, plot, and so on.  By the time we are done, I have molded the manuscript into shape (I hope).  It is like raising a kid – here is this unformed being and as a mom I take and shape it into what it will be – hopefully in a positive and good way.  To have someone come along and tell you that you did a lousy job is tough to hear.  However, I have to look on a negative review as a way of looking to improve my writing.  If it is constructive – like I found errors in these locations or here is a plot oooppss – then I can use that as a way to improve the product.  If it is a “I didn’t like it” type of review, there is little I can do about that. 

If you’ve read my novel, please go and write a review on it.  Be honest because honesty helps me hone my craft and make a better product either by updating and improving the current product or creating a better product for the next manuscript. 

Secret Past is available here:
Barnes and Nobles:

The Art of a Good Critique

There is an art to critiquing writing.  I had another short story critiqued last night.  I listened to the critique closely as I had written on a controversial topic.  The complements are nice.  They definitely stroke my ego but don’t really help me be a better writer. 
With each workshop, we are required to read the story and as we read it we edit it (think copy editing where you are looking for grammar mistakes, tone, punctuation, and so on).  In addition to the technical aspect of the writing we are also supposed to write about the content – what works, what doesn’t work, what we like and don’t like.  I take this part very seriously.  I edit like I would for my daughters or a client.
We then have to write a letter to the author summing up what we edited.  With each class period we hand these over to the author.  I’ve done mine each time.  I’ve read mine as well.  Sometimes as I’m reading the critiques I wonder about people’s comprehension levels because I can’t find what they are talking about in my story. 
Wading through these critiques is like trying to find a diamond in a pile of shit.  Crude maybe but true.  Most of what these people have to say is arrogant, condescending, and idiotic.  However, I’ve had some really thoughtful critiques.  These gems in amongst the crap are really helpful and thought provoking. 
Most people want you to write the way they want to read and if the story doesn’t go the way they think it should go then they don’t like it.  They don’t look beyond their personal preferences (I know I’m guilty of this which is why I wait to write my letter so I’m not writing it with my first gut reaction.)  The problem with this is they aren’t analyzing how it was written but how they reacted to it. 

When I find these gems, it usually inspires me to go back to the story for another revision.  It inspires me to edit thoughtfully and with impudence.  It can really spark the creative juices so that I can improve my work.  That is the point of the critique – to be relevant and constructive.  Something I hope I keep in mind when I do my own critiques and something I will continue to mine for when I read the critiques I have gotten.


My critique in Fiction Writing went well.  I got a lot of information I could use and some that I couldn’t – or maybe more to the point won’t use.  It was an interesting experience to hear what people thought and how they reacted to my characters and plot. 
I looked on this as a focus group as some of the people said they read a lot of science fiction.  From them I got useful fixes that will make the story stronger.  It was wonderful to hear what worked and didn’t work for these readers.
I always wanted the story to be longer – maybe not novel length but definitely longer.  The pace of the part of it was too face for most of the readers.  I wonder if part of the problem is they don’t understand the mob mentality that is part of this story.  However, if they don’t then don’t I as the writer need to explain it? 
I’m excited to revise and work on this story – I just need to find the time to do it.  The experience of the critique wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  There was a point where suggestions were made to drastically change the story which I didn’t like – it isn’t part of the story I’m telling.  At least the readers liked it enough to offer them though. 
Overall a good experience and I wish I could have more but I think we will just get one per semester.