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Three Things Friday

Carol:

We’re just gonna have to change TTT until I’m not teaching so early Thursday mornings.

I’m reading a book and loving it. It’s called The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith. Smith won a 2015 Printz Honor for  Grasshopper Jungle.
Have you read either book? What do you think?

 

Brenda:

Have you submitted work to a contest, or a publisher, or an agent lately? How about to a critique group? Or just to a friend to get a “first impression” of your work?
It’s tough, no matter whether your “critic” knows what he or she is doing or not. If he/she does know what to do, what to recommend, did you really want to know what someone thought of it? Or did you just want a pat on the back.
I think most people truly involved with writing may know what they’re saying. They may not always know how hurtful it can be. On the other hand, if you gave the materials up willingly, hopefully, you need to take their ideas into consideration.
Here are two people with writing ability and knowledge who have interesting takes on the process:
“Listen carefully to first criticisms of your work. Not just what it is about your work the critics don’t like — then cultivate it. That’s the part of your work that’s individual and worth keeping.” ~ Jean Cocteau
“I would recommend the cultivation of extreme indifference to both praise and blame because praise will lead you to vanity, and blame will lead you to self-pity, and both are bad for writers.” John Berryman
Cheryl:
This year I was  excited to be able to work as a judge for book awards again. As you might imagine, one of the most difficult aspects is ranking the books you read yesterday to the ones you read six months ago.
Therefore, I present Cheryl’s Rubric of Amazingness! I have ten sections, and for each section I award up to ten points. It’s not a perfect system (for instance, this year I had a three-way tie at 94) but it works for me.
Quality of storyline
-Is there a strong arc? Is there an opening, a point of no return, etc, etc.?
-Is the climax effective? Is it in the correct place?
-Is the first page strong? Does the story start in the correct place?
-is the ending strong? Is the story problem resolved? Is it cut off early to force room for a sequel?
Character arc
-does the character change and grow?
-is the character’s motivation known?
-is the character likeable?
-is the character relatable?
Character voice
-is it unique?
-is it recognizable?
-is it realistic?
Secondary characters
-are they fleshed out?
-do they have their own arcs?
-are they cliche?
Dialogue
-is it realistic?
-is it appropriate to the characters?
-is there some that should have been eliminated? (Hellos, goodbyes, etc.)
Storytelling (suspense)
-is the story original?
-do I want to keep reading?
-do I feel the way the author intended for me to feel?
Pacing
-does it flow smoothly?
-does the arc rise organically or is it forced?
-is there enough/too much time spent in each part of the storyline?
Genre Specific Questions:
(This example is for fantasy, romance or coming-of-age novels would have different questions)
-Originality of world and magic
-Is there a cost to magic?
-Is the description woven in, or is it info dumped?
Quality of writing

-are there incorrect dialogue tags?
-are there adverbs where there should be stronger verbs?
-do the metaphors work? Are they awkward or forced? Are they appropriate for the character?
-are the descriptions strong? Are they overly loquacious? Is there a strong sense of place?
-is the setting strong? Is there a “feel” for the area? Is the town/country unique and defined?
Grammar and editing
-purple prose
-poor grammar/spelling
-run-on sentences
-variation of sentence length, musicality of prose
-sentences that all start the same way
-overuse of phrases
-recycled images
NOTE FROM CAROL–So you could use this as you write your own books.

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Three Things Friday!

by Lisa

The Inquirer’s Prayer

Oh Agent, who sits behind your desk,
I’ve researched well your name.
I sent five pages.
They’re on your screen,
Glowing in your inbox.
Give me a chance to send a full.
And forgive me all my adverbs,
As I forgive your overbearing schedule.
Then sign me as your client,
Sell movie rights and more.
I really need some money,

‘Cause I’m desperate and I’m poor.

CALL ME.

(Disclaimer: I’m not ready to query. I will be soon… probably. And I’m terrified.)

 

by Brenda

Are we there yet? . . . Are we there yet? . . . Are we there yet?   . . . . .  Not quite, but soon.
Are you doing NaNo? What was your goal for yourself in November? It might have been 50K at NaNo. Maybe it was more . . . or less. Maybe it was a personal goal: lose a couple of pounds; walk daily; cook for your family every single (day/week/month) at least once; stop biting your nails.
Whatever goal you decided on, does it look like you’ll get there (you still have four days)?
My goals were to write every day in November:
So far, so good. It helps that I’m using 750words dot com to do the writing (It’s free for the first month, and only $5 a month if you want to stay on it. They send you a daily reminder to do your 750 words, you earn “badges” for various accomplishments and at the end of each session, you can look at totals, an analysis of mood, tense, word analysis, etc.)
Write at least 750 words every day (less than half way NaNo’s 50K) :
I’ve run from 777 to 2,429 a day and NEVER below the 750, but I’ve got quite a ways still to get to the 50K.
Ultimate goal was to write 50K words:
With a little extra, coming close to my high (above) or a little more each day will get me there.
An extra goal: work on getting my weight down a bit, even with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming on:
I am down about 3 lbs from the first of the month, so it’s a start.
See you when we’re “there” after Nov. 30, midnight — good luck, and keep going!

 

by Cheryl

Happy Thanksgiving!
Years ago, someone challenged me to write down twenty things I was thankful for every day for three months.
Believe it or not, I did it.
I learned quite a bit.
First of all, twenty things is a LOT. Five is easy. Ten is a brain teaser. Fifteen takes awhile. But twenty? You have to pay attention all day, every day, to come up with twenty.
The next thing I learned was that I really like food. Almost every day at least one entry was food.
I also learned that I can be thankful for completely opposite things. I can be thankful for sunshine one day and for rain on another. I can be thankful to go out with friends and thankful that plans got cancelled so I can rest.
Lastly, I learned that I am infinitely grateful for the people in my life. Their love, encouragement, and kindness is what powers me. I could not make it without my incredible friends and family.
I’m not sure I’d ever attempt it again, but it was an experiment I’ll always treasure. So what do you guys say? After Nanowrimo, is anyone up for a new challenge?

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