The long and short of it

IMG_0128As you probably know by now, I’ve been working on my third novel for quite some time. “cough, cough” Ten months “cough, cough“. I’ve been typing it out daily, the manuscript has been getting longer and longer, and the story hasn’t really been progressing much. With this little problem on my mind, I was grumbling to my brother a few days ago about hamsters and going nowhere.

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Writer hamster’s favorite food!

The first thing out of his mouth is about this author he heard about that’s doing just great, making lots and lots of money. (I roll my eyes.) And this author only sells his book in ebook format, just like me. (I roll my eyes some more.)And he sells his book on Amazon, just like me. (More eye rolling.) Just as my brother was about to ooze more praise out for this author dude, I cut him off and pointed out that selling an ebook isn’t as easy as it looks and it isn’t half as easy as people will tell you.

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That’s when my brother admitted that the author he was talking about didn’t get much for any one of his books. (See, I was right!) But, since the author had written 180 books, it didn’t really matter.

“Wait, how many books?”

“One hundred and eighty,” my brother repeated.

“One, eight, zero? Are you sure?” I asked again.

My brother insisted that it was the right amount.

“Then, how old is the guy, like four hundred or something?”

“Nope, he wrote them all in three years,” my brother claimed.

“NO, just NO! No human being could write that many books in three years. Even if he had squid arms, he couldn’t have typed them up that fast!”

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Then my brother explained that each book was only ten thousand words long and the author typed up one a week. Without the long writing time of a full length novel, the author could get lots of feedback from readers, and he learned to drop his bad writing habits and improve his writing much faster.

The little wheels in my head were turning.

Hmm, feedback from readers. Now didn’t I mention recently that I wanted feedback?

I had always been told by writing experts and such, that serious writers write full length novels. But, maybe the best place for me to start out is in short stories? I already write short stories for fun, maybe I should start publishing them more seriously? It’s certainly something to think about.

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Itty bitty book!

Why do I write?

WARNING YOU ARE NOW ENTERING GRUMPVILLE, WILD RANTING AHEAD!

Sorry, I wrote this while I was still pretty grumbly, I promise to write something more cheerful next week.broken F

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I recently submitted the first chapter of my novel No place for fairy tales to an online critiquing group.

Well, I finally got a reply back.

Four people critiqued my work and had a wide variety of opinions about the piece. Some said that I didn’t put enough detail into it, some said I put too much detail into it. Some thought my word choice was poor, others thought my word choice was good but my sentence structure was poor. Some didn’t like my main character, others didn’t like my side characters. In fact, the only thing these critiquers agreed on was that no one liked my writing.

Yay!broken F bits4

In the words of one critic, “As for the story itself, it does not hit me as a great opening chapter.”

And she was the nice one.

Once upon a time, long, long ago, I used to submit my work for critique at another (now defunked) website. And then I stopped. Why? Because the feedback I received inspired me to stop writing.

It’s not that I can’t take criticism. Usually I love feedback and tips on how I can do better. What I can’t take is getting conflicting messages. For example, one person says I have too much detail, the next says I have too little, the next says I have the right amount of detail but the wrong kind, the next doesn’t mention detail at all. So, which one is right?

What I hear is DETAIL= BAD!

How is it bad and what can I do to fix it? That information isn’t even hinted at.

At this point you’re probably wondering why I even bothered to have my writing critiqued in the first place (I wonder about that some times too). I honestly wanted fellow writers to look at what I wrote and give me some tips to help me polish it up. Too bad that’s not what I got.broken heart

So, in light of some less than helpful critiques, I thought I would post some helpful tips that critics should keep in mind when they are reviewing other’s work.

  1. Please, please, please, read what other critics have written before you write your own critique! If you write a critique that says the exact opposite of a previous critic, it just makes both critiques worthless to the writer of the work.
  2. If you stink at grammar, do not try to fix someone else’s.
  3. Do not try to make someone else’s writing sound like yours. Every writer has their own voice, and that’s okay. Just because you would have worded something differently does not make it wrong.
  4. Read the entire piece through and then go back and critique it. That way you wont ask questions about a line of writing that are answered in the very next sentence of the piece.
  5. Do not make broad statements about an entire novel based off of 2,000 words! Seriously! The maximum size document that can be submitted for critique is tiny, there’s no way you could make an informed opinion about a whole novel based off of that little document you’re seeing.

broken heart in two 3Okay, I think I’ve ranted enough. I’m going to go binge watch Glee and eat some chocolate. Writing can wait for tomorrow.

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Me and hampsters

IMG_0133I’ve had the strangest week. For the whole week I’ve been working like crazy on my writing career, but oddly enough, I haven’t actually written a single word for my third novel, and haven’t written any short stories or flash fiction either. It’s like I’ve been running as fast as I can on a great big wheel, going nowhere. It’s exhausting.

On sale at Amazon and Barns and Noble                       On sale now at Amazon and Barns and Noble

I haven’t had anytime to write, I’ve been too busy signing up for new writing classes, and researching magazines I can submit short stories to, and submitting stuff I have already written to my new online critique group, and putting my first two books on sale on Smashwords, and researching how to improve my sales, and researching the steps it takes to be a freelance writer/blogger, and writing up book ideas for future writing, and starting up a new blog (I know, it’s an addiction) and, and, sooo much other writing related crap too.

In case you’re wondering, yes I am hyperventilating at this very moment!

Seriously, how do professional writers get anything written?

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I mean, yeah, a lot of my time was gobbled up by my day job (gotta pay the bills somehow) but ALL my free time was used on writing related stuff and I didn’t actually write anything!