Getting Critiques

While this isn’t the most fun part of writing, it is a useful tool to move on the way to publishing. (Or, at least, a better final product.)

I got a critique yesterday, as I mentioned, at the SCBWI-Iowa Spring Conference. It wasn’t all good, it wasn’t all bad, and it held at least one gem from my critique group. I knew they had a point when they brought it up, but I was hoping I’d solved it enough to keep going.

The answer is, I haven’t. I need a satisfying resolution to the puzzle. It’s not quite a Rubik’s Cube where you can just take the thing apart. (Note: I was never a fan of removing the stickers. Eventually they’ll stop sticking. Plus, it’s noticeable.)

So it’s not- quite- back to the drawing board. I just need to explore the other avenues that I had originally drawn up during my brainstorming phase and see in which direction my characters gravitate.

They (my group) will probably be glad to know I’m listening to them.

SCBWI Conference

I attended today! It was all I could manage of the three day conference, but I got there. They offered a manuscript critique (of synopsis and first ten pages) from an agent, author, or editor.

First, the manuscript critique… I’m still mulling over the advice. I thought of one of them after I’d sent it, so that’s something. And my critique group had been wondering about another thing she brought up. I have to figure out how to fix the things she pointed out. I’ll owe a thank you to Laura Arnold from HarperCollins when Don’t Tell Your Mother gets somewhere.

Second, I managed to meet some members from my area. I haven’t been able to connect with them around here, though I keep running into the Romance Writer’s group. They say they do all genres, but there’s something to be said for joining specific organization that you write. SCBWI focuses on the children’s genres from picture books to young adult, and this is very different from the focus of RWA, who will tell writers all about romance, erotica, and the other shades of love writing. SFWA will tell still different things, taking a turn for the speculative. If we could easily get lumped into one genre, we wouldn’t have them.

But that’s just my opinion.

Third, I got to listen to some great speakers. I learned things about picture books, so of course now that’s what’s running through my head thinking about coming out. I doubt it’ll come out soon, maybe not even this year, but it’s bouncing. One day it’ll gel.

I’ll just worry about capturing it at that time. I’ll keep pen and paper by my side. (Like any good writer should do.)