If anyone wants me to take a peak at their story, come hit me at my blog or web page. Can't say I know everything about winning, but I might be able to give you folks a hand, if you need it. I don't do low-level line edits as much as I try to provide feedback on emotional aspects of the story -- did it grab, did it hold, did it move, etc. Can occasionally make suggestions for fixes. Will try to not be too much of a back-seat writer. (grin)
Posts: 386 | Registered: Sep 2008
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DOUBLE WARNING: I am assuming anyone who sends me something, wants to win the Contest, so I slant my comments accordingly.
TRIPLE WARNING: Nothing I write is personal, and all of it is my OPINION only. If you find value in it and you think it helps you, then excellent, that's why I am offering. If you think it's rubbish and can't use it, also perfect, because all of us have to -- at some point -- learn to 'trust our instincts' and know when to push back with critique and review.
Liberal application of BIC has finally forced my story to an end. Whew! I know I'm a bit behind this quarter, but I'll send it out for your benevolent shredding shortly....
Posts: 715 | Registered: Nov 2007
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I know I've been wishy-washy but now I'm joining for real. I've gotten my revised first draft finished and I'm going to send it out and start working on the all the crits I've recieved.
Posts: 962 | Registered: Jul 2008
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Sorry for the delay in doing the crit work... many hours of practice and several gigs are keeping me at the guitar rather than the lap-top. Should be able keep my promises, however belated, this week. I haven't written a single word in many days... ARGGGG!
gasp... I misspelled arggggh... I think... see what I mean!
[This message has been edited by dougsguitar (edited February 02, 2010).]
Since my first draft went out just a week ago I haven't gotten my first full round of crits back. And while I've made some adjustments based on those, I'm waiting to get all or most of them back before I go too much further into the second draft.
By the way, this is in no way a complaint. I know I sent out a big story and we all have lives and our own projects. I'm just chiming in on status.
For fun though, I wrote this to an artist friend of mine that I gave the story to:
I know you're busy, drawing and working your fingers down to bloody nubs while you come up with brilliant illustrations for your current project. But I am humbly inquiring as to whether you might have been able to grace my story with a few moments of your precious time so that you may reflect and respond to the drivel I have entreatied you to read so that you may rend it asunder. And while your response may shred my soul, leaving it like so much trash in the overflowing, putrid dumpster in a dark alley behind a delicatessan with the rotting remains of potato salad and moldy pig's feet, I look forward to hearing from you.
Lol. I have a major deadline on Monday at noon (major like, my entire income next year depends on it) but I'll get to everyone's stuff by Tuesday. Scout's honor.
Posts: 715 | Registered: Nov 2007
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Hi, all. This will be my first time entering the WOTF. I have a 17k (16,800 in fact) word story ready. I'm still not sure if I want to show this to anyone before I send it. A part of me is afraid someone will steal my story, the other part wants to learn all it can.
So you simply send each other your stories in e-mails? I wouldn't mind seeing someone's story to see how other people write. And I won't steal anything, I promise. Unless it's really really good.
Martin, the chances someone will steal your story are about 0.0% because the moment you commit that story to paper -- be it pulp or electronic -- it's yours. You own it under copyright, and nobody who is serious about their own fiction is going to come along and want to "swipe" yours. Certainly I would not. Heck, I don't even have enough time in the week to write my own stories, much less browse for someone else's to "steal," so I think you can relax on that one.
Now, as for having others take a look at it, I think that's a great idea, and I would also caution you. Not everyone is going to give a critique that is useful, and you have to prepare yourself for the fact that not everyone will feel the same way about your story that you do. In fact, some may hate it. Be bored by it. Not understand it, etc. Before letting anyone have a look at it, ask yourself these questions:
1) Are you ready to be disappointed? 2) What are you hoping to get out of someone else's feedback? 3) Are you prepared to not argue? 4) I say again, are you prepared to not argue??
Because readers' reactions cannot be "wrong." I think one of the big reasons critique often fails is because the writer doesn't understand that a reader's emotional reaction to the story cannot be logical. If your story "misses" with the reader you have no chance of arguing them back around to seeing the story through your eyes. The story either scores, or it doesn't, and you have to be ready to just accept that. And either look at the story through the reader's eyes -- and maybe see where problems might be -- or stick to your original vision and discard what you've received.
My self confidence is regularly crushed by critiques, even good ones (yes, I'm probably just fragile), but after a bit of reflection and/or denial I've always found the story, and my writing, both improve for it.
If you'd like to swap stories, send it through. I'm a first time wotf submitter and unpublished writer too, so we're in the same boat, I think. If there's anything you do or don't want critiqued, perhaps add that, but otherwise I'll just give the most honest feedback I can. And I'll only critique the story, not you, I promise.
One other thing to be prepared for; at 17K words it might take a little time. Work and kids and all that, you know.
I was scared to death to send my first story out for critiques. Like biting my fingernails, stomach twisting, can't sleep at night terrified. (Gosh was that only a year ago? How time flies!)
But I did it. And then I did it again. And while taking feedback isn't easy, it wasn't as hard as I was afraid it would be. Especially on Hatrack, pretty much everyone makes sure to throw in comments on both the good and the bad.
Looking back, I almost can't believe how much getting outside critiques has improved my story-craft. Even in my absolute best stories, a fresh eye can always find something that I might want to expand, or clarify, or reconsider. If you're not ready to send it out to a whole group, even one or two people providing feedback might be a start (though I think you get more balanced critiques when you have several to look at - things multiple people comment on are more of an issue than the one outlier critique).
Okay, enough playing around on Hatrack for me. I'm now going to get to all that critiquing I haven't had time for over the weekend. Expect stuff incoming over the next day or so.
MartinV, I'd be happy to take a look. Send it on over. I'll be thorough but gentle. I think I'm usually pretty good at explaining the reasons behind my comments. For me, it always helps to understand the 'why' of the problem. Then it's easier to decide if you agree with it.
I'll send you my second draft in a week or so when it's ready. I wouldn't mind having a fresh set of eyes on it for the second round.
quote:Martin, the chances someone will steal your story are about 0.0%
I know. It's a very old kind of paranoia, that's all. I can control it now.
quote:Not everyone is going to give a critique that is useful, and you have to prepare yourself for the fact that not everyone will feel the same way about your story that you do. In fact, some may hate it. Be bored by it. Not understand it, etc.
I am well aware of that. I have posted stories before in forums and some people couldn't understand them. I believe I can take a critique with courtesy.
quote:I'd be happy to take a look. Send it on over.
Any particular format and font? I have it in doc as I write in Microsoft Word. I usually write it in Times New Roman, size 12, with single spacing but I also have it in Standard Manuscript Format if that makes it easier to read.
Also, I don't have to send it whole. First few pages, for example.
[This message has been edited by MartinV (edited February 08, 2010).]
Sorry I haven't been around for a bit. Got the flu bug for a week, and now fighting a sinus infection on the back end. Dumb bugs. I've mostly just done re-thinking about my story for this quarter, but have decided that I need to change quite a bit. As such, I don't want to hold people back, and I know that there are others in the group that are a bit behind the scheduled timeline as well (not to mention the fact that this group is getting a bit large for all intents and purposes) so I'm going to bail and give a late start to the "Regular Timeline Group" that we normally have on this forum. That should make the group sizes a bit more manageable for crit swapping and also allow for a greater range of "finishedness" in each group's members. lol. That ain't a word and don't I know it. Anyhow, I'll do crits on all the stories that I've received thus far from this group, but I'm going to bail to the other group now (and I'd appreciate a little company there, if anyone else is interested. )
So, the new member list for this group is:
Owasm Arriki Dark Warrior Teraen BenM Kitti dougsguitar ScardeyDog genevive42 recovering_cynic shimiqua Brendan Christopher Satate MartinV
If you plan on bailing to the Regular Timeline Group with me, please repost the current list with your name removed from it. That way, everyone knows what's happening.
Hey folks I hate to do this but I gotta take a short break from all this, short as in a coupla weeks. All manner of activity is going on around here that takes every minute to contain... kinda like herding cats through a dog-kennel. Please do not wait on my responses to your stories to continue the revision process. I will continue to read and comment when time allows and will return as soon as things calm down a bit. FYI - one of those situations is actually my daughter getting married (shudders, drools a little, stares at the wall for a few moments... blinks rapidly while shaking head...) ahem... so anyway, I think you all get the picture. Peace! Good writing! and... see you in the funny papers! Doug
Posts: 123 | Registered: Dec 2009
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I am back home from my travels and lockdown in the hotel after Philadelphia was completely shut down from the snow storms...kids were even sledding down the closed off highway on ramps...and I look forward to getting back into the game, critting everyones fine efforts they have sent me, and taking a look at mine once again.
Welcome back. I really have to stop slacking and get back to editing mine. If anyone sent me a story and I've not returned a critique yet, please let me know.
Posts: 920 | Registered: Nov 2008
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Dark Warrior, if I'm on your list you can skip my story. I've finished the second draft. I'd be happy to send it to you but you seem to have a lot on your plate and I don't want to add to it.
Posts: 1928 | Registered: Jul 2009
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Let me start by saying that I really appreciate this critique group. Everyone has made comments and suggestions that have been valuable in reworking my story.
My question to everyone is: Have most of the crits you've been receiving been falling in a close range of comments or across the spectrum?
Personally, I've been getting comments across the spectrum. Of course some points, the ones that need the most fixing, have come up consistently. But the general reception to my story has been highly varied. I don't see this as good or bad, just interesting.
So without getting specific, I'm just wondering what your experience has been.