Critiquing Conundrum

Dear Readers: Before the class was dismissed from Creative Writing sessions, the instructors usually  handed out assignments including evaluation of other students’ writing. Then the teachers would distribute printed instructions on the correct approach to use when criticizing. Apparently they’d had some previous negative student reactions and hoped to tone down rude remarks to preserve our fragile egos, hoping we would continue unscathed on our imaginative journeys. We … More Critiquing Conundrum

Public Scrutiny 101

Dear Readers: My critique group was originally composed of five members. We met weekly. Each attendee sent at least ten new pages several days prior to the review session. This lofty goal kept me scrambling. First, I consulted my working synopsis, to refresh my brain on where my story was going. The synopsis was the briefest of outlines that … More Public Scrutiny 101

Second Time Around

Dear Readers: I finished my first draft of Patsy and Virgie in April, 2011. Considering I started creative writing classes in 2007, completing this first pass seemed long overdue. Now it was time to edit. Members of my critique group who had preceded me into the wasteland of slash and burn warned me it was not an easy … More Second Time Around

Teacher Knows Best

Dear Readers: The Great Depression. Prohibition. The Dust Bowl. The Second World War. If these events influenced my mother-in-law’s 1939 adventure then they also affected my story. If I wanted to portray the era accurately, I knew research was a necessary ingredient. So it began: googling topics on the internet, reading books purchased or on loan from the library, conducting interviews, taking a horseback riding lesson, roaming the … More Teacher Knows Best

Frowned Upon

Dear Readers:  I’m learning that writing is a “trendy” business. Decades ago, a writer was allowed to move gently into the story, taking, oh maybe, fifty pages to get to the nitty gritty stuff. Now it’s all about rock-em, sock-em action from the opening sentence. And woe to the author whose first paragraph doesn’t build suspense or a first chapter that’s … More Frowned Upon