Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Joys of Critique Groups, And More Awards!

My critique group is amazing. I love reading their work (a talented lot!), and I'm constantly inspired at our meetings. They spot things that the writer needs to be aware of, and they explain it in a very understanding/encouraging way. It's SO what I need. I LOVE my critique group. I shared with them the first three chapters of my WIP, Still Loving Ghosts, and their reactions knocked me over. They were so excited about this story, I almost got tears in my eyes. They were practically drooling for more, and now I'm freaking out because I'm still unsure about the outcome of SLG in general! I'm only 6 chapters in!! I'm so worried I've worked myself into a corner with this, and that I won't be able to pull off a WOW ending. Am I making any sense? The way I see the story going... I'm VERY confused about how to get there. I know this is just going to take time and WORK WORK WORK, but man, the pressure is ON now. Can I take it as actual pressure though? Motivation is how I need to see it...
Is getting a little frazzled about this natural, or hindering to the process??? Someone please calm me down! lol.

On to other things, WOW, this blogging community... I am just speechless. I've never met more giving, more encouraging, more inspiring people! I've been honored with two more awards, by two lovely ladies whose blogs I thoroughly enjoy, and you should, too!

Thank you to Amber at Reading Addict for the Humane Award! Check out her book reviews!

Now I am supposed to pass these off to bloggers who comment regularly on my posts and generally brighten my day, but I have to do some research first and see who doesn't have it already!

And thank you to Tiana Lei at Spilled Ink for the Superior Scribbler Award!

Now I am supposed to recognize bloggers who go above and beyond, but again, I must research!!

I love all my bloggers! What a great community we are building here (or that was already built but I only just found)!


  1. Okay, Kristin, calm down. Eat come chocolate, drink some tea, and look at some pictures of hot boys. It will make you feel better...I promist. : )

    I worry about writing myself into a corner all the time, but taking advise from one of my good friends Daisy Whitney, she says, "When you write yourself into a corner, just write yourself out of it."

    I don't know if this works, but I'd like to think so. Luckily I haven't met any corners lately. : )

    Happy Thursday, Kristin!!!

  2. If you feel you've written yourself into a corner, just think how the reader will feel! "Man, how are the characters going to get out of this? This is juicy, this is great!"
    I completely agree with Kimberly above.
    I know that sounds cheesy, but I really believe that when you start down a road like that, your Master Conscious has a plan. Keep writing. If you don't know what to write, just keep your fingers moving, make stuff up until it clicks. Because It Will. Have faith in your characters and the movement of your clever brain.
    Things will kick off, and just when you think you've wedged into a dark, empty, dead end'll bump a lever that will open a door to brand new territory.
    Just keep pushing. If your group is excited, it means you're Going Somewhere, and they can feel it, even if you can't.
    (Just keep swimming :D )

  3. Many Congratulations on the Awards!

    Don't panic about the writing. Stories usually don't land in the mind complete. Even when it seems they're complete, you often end up making changes along the way because the characters decide something you haven't foreseen.

    You have a beginning. Good. You have an end in mind, that may or may not change. Good. The rest is a jigsaw puzzle. You puzzle out how you can get from here to there. You talk to your characters, or watch the scene in your mind.

    Some folks outline everything from the start, but I found it took the energy out of the piece. Like you, I know the beginning and the end. And I can see a few scenes along the way.

    Since I do large books, I make up some light character notes...very light because these things can change. And I make up a growing document of notes as I go along. They can be descriptions of characters that I will need to quote from later on, or other things.

    After I get past the chapters I already have planned out, I often do a chapter outline for the next couple of chapters. The outline amounts to a couple of paragraphs per chapter. And it's understood that the final chapter may not end up following this chapter blurb.

    Don't go back and change your chapter outline if you went in a different direction. It's not important. Just press on to the next chapter.

    Jump in and go!

  4. It's hard to know what to do. If you don't plan you might write yourself into a corner, but like someone else said planning a lot takes all of fun out of writing.

    I write out scenes and see where the best place is to put them.

  5. This is all great advice. Thank y'all so much for taking the time to share what works for you. I know I just need to keep on pluggin' away. And I do plan things out to a degree, but I will always allow the characters to speak up and I'll do my best to listen to them.

  6. Writing under pressure IS pretty scary. I remember deciding to share one of my WIP's as my ongoing crit piece in a creative writing class I took in college. I was mostly terrified because it was in the paranormal genre, and I was pretty sure none of them were into that like I am.

    But it turned out that a lot of them really liked it, and they quickly flew through what I'd already written. Then, oh crap, gotta write new stuff!

    I'm all touchy-feely about writing and rely a lot on instincts, etc., but I have this fascination with writing under different kinds of pressure and how that writing is different (or is it?) For instance, you're trying to hit your daily word count goal, but it's past midnight and you're would be so much easier to just tack that extra 200 words on tomorrow... But no, you made a promise to yourself, so you forge on ahead...

    And then what you write is weird. It's mystical. It's completely magical, and you love it. Then you have to wonder, if I'd given in to my body's peer pressure and waited until tomorrow, when I'm fresh and enthused (ha!), would it have come out this way? Or would it have been more bland? Or would it have been something completely different, and how would that have affected the story's arc?

    These are the questions I like to ponder, much like you sometimes wonder how a single, insignificant event in your life may or may not have completely changed its course.

    But what I'm really trying to say is, you'll be great, and your crit group will love it.

  7. Congrats on the awards (well-deserved) and the reaction of your critique group. I SOOOOOO wish I had one of those!

  8. Congratulations on the awards. It's so good to have the positive encouragement from a group of writers on your side. It's exciting when they are excited. It's also stressful. Now they expect more! Yikes! But you can do it. And even if you have to change some things around, the essence of the story will remain the same. They'll understand :)

    Happy Thursday,

  9. Hey Kristin!

    Congrats on the awards!

    Breathe! LOL! It is stressful to know people are expecting more and are excited about the does seem like a lot of pressure, but you wouldn't want it any other way! It means you're awesome! Knowing how to get from Point A to Point B has always been my problem too...I know where I want it to go but it's how do I get there that's the real pain! I have no worries about your story though - I have faith it will be GREAT. :-)

    Happy Thursday!

  10. I'm so with you on critique groups. There's nothing like getting a critique. It's this huge high while at the same time, very humbling. I'm so glad you have one that you love!

    And congrats on the awards!

  11. Congrats on your awards and critique groups are awesome. Good luck on WIP - it's hard to stay motivated and keep the momentum going, but don't give up. Thank you for checking out my blog and becoming a follower.

  12. You won another award!!! YOu can find it here:

  13. Wow, you are a very awarded blogger! Congratulations. I just wanted to say I know exactly how you feel about your novel. I'm really scared of messing up my WIP too, because I get to a certain point and I always throw in something impulsive that (I think) messes it up. My goal with this one is just to stick with what I have and keep it simple. Good luck to you with yours!!

  14. Oh how exciting! Keep at it. Sometimes when I get backed into a corner, I'll take each character and re-write my latest chapter from their point of view. It really helps to get inside their head. Keep us posted!

  15. Critique groups are great. Sometimes. Most times. They tell me they love my stuff, and it makes me feel good, but then I start to question it. Why would anyone like my writing? Sometimes I want, no need, to hear the bad.

    Having said that, congrats on your WIP. Don't worry about writing into corners, like has been said, it's fun, and it will be fun to get out of it. You're just recording what you see, so don't stress too much about it.

    And now, I see I'm your 100th follower. Yay for me! Yay for you!

  16. Congratulations on the Awards!!! How awesome! You're right the blogging community is so kind and gracious!!! Yay for Awards!!!!

    Hooray for 100 followers :)

    Now as far as critiquing hooray for a great group! I am not that far into the process yet, but when I am I'll be sure to search for the perfect one! I think it's normal to be nervous and second guess what your ending will end up being like, but trust yourself, give it time and everything will fall in place!!

    I love your posts!!

  17. Congrats on 100! I also meant to say two things in my post XD Critique groups are awesome...I miss mine :( But they throw out ideas I wouldn't have thought of...

    The other is that I've never found that outlining stifles my process. I actually thinking of More ideas as I scribble stuff down. I don't have to stick to it, but things fall together. Just to play Devil's advocate...

  18. Y'all have such great advice. I love how all of our experiences put together can help each other. Thanks so much! I'm ready to get some serious writing done this weekend!