Man, I need to read this series. (ESPECIALLY considering how much I love the Bloodlines spin-off series.)
And as usual with most writing advice, I agree in part and disagree in part. I do think that most of us overestimate the quality of our work when we first start out. I do think that rigorous revising is important, and that most writers have no idea when they embark upon a project just how much editing it will need. I've also found that it's often difficult for us to critique our own work at the level it needs.
But maybe all that is nature's way of protecting us, of keeping us from curling up in the fetal position and giving up before we even begin.
I've always needed that confidence--even if it qualifies as overconfidence--to write anything in the first place. The first draft is all about mental cheerleading for me.
And then I let the inner critic out of the trunk where he hides out during drafting, and unleash him on my manuscript. And later still, I invite other critiquers in. Not with the ego-shattering force that the article describes, but with a willingness to delete anything that doesn't belong. I don't need people to come down on me "like a ton of bricks," "[tear] my stories to shreds and [throw] them back at me ... shatter[ing] my ego ..." The fact is, it's not about my ego at all. It's about the story. What makes it a better story? Where is the plot unbelievable or slow? Which scenes are contributing nothing? It's not personal. My book is not me.
I do sometimes get upset over criticism, but that's mostly because it means I have a lot more work to do, and sometimes I don't see right away how on earth I'm going to fix everything. Critique is not a judgment of me; it's a to-do list. And whining over to-do lists is part of my process--not the most glamorous part, to be sure, but the part that clears out the sludge of my resistance so the words can flow again. Look, it's not fun to rewrite seven chapters that you thought you were done with, or switch the whole thing to a different POV, or cut the book in half and rewrite the ending. It's much more fun to hear that you're a literary genius and you don't have to rewrite a word.
But praise is no good unless it's true, and praise alone doesn't help most writers grow. Rejecting all criticism usually doesn't help much either. On that, I agree with the article.
I suppose where I come down in the end is that we need a balance of praise and criticism to keep us going and keep us writing well. That mix varies from writer to writer and even from day to day. Whatever works.
...by introducing their own mail-by-air program: O.W.L.S.:
I recently posted a picture of Sparty the Dog and Marsie the Cat on Facebook. For those of you who don’t know, Marsie and Sparty love each other.
Marsie is named after Mars and also (cough) after 30 Seconds to Mars, the epic band of awesomeness that totally helped inspire the NEED series.
Sparty is named after Spartacus, slave rebellion leader.
You would think that with these names Sparty and Marsie would be toughies. They are not toughies as the photos below show.
It begins with Sparty on the floor of the living room looking forlorn. Will Marsie ignore him? Will she rub her tail and side against his muzzle claiming ownership? What will happen?
“Please, please, please….” thinks Sparty. He expresses this thought by snorting.
Marsie responds to this look by flopping on her side and stretching out her paw. In cat language this means, “Come hither.” Or… sometimes in cat language this means, “I am going to claw your face off.”
Poor Sparty does not know what to think. Will it be a time for love? Or a time for scratching? A time of paw holding? Or a time of hisses and gouging?
“Love is hard,” he thinks. He expresses this thought by expelling gas out of his rectum. Sparty is after all part lab.
Luckily, Marsie likes the stinkiness of the Lab today. She reaches out her paw and voila! Love.
Nineteen Children's Librarians pored over a wealth of new releases throughout the year, often with the help of the children in their branches, and have selected a delicious sampling of stories for you to peruse. Enjoy this snapshot of the creativity and artistry to be found in books being published for preschoolers on up through sixth grade.
(via Betsy, naturally)
Then I could make a lovely thing;
But I am stung with goads and whips,
So I build songs like iron ships.
Let it be something for my song,
If it is sometimes swift and strong.
- The Singer by Anna Wickham
View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.
View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.
Learn more about Poetry Friday.
- Current Mood: hungry
- Current Music:Supernatural score music
Who is your favourite character from the Harry Potter universe?
This is like trying to choose your favourite record, it changes all the time. I have a soft spot for Neville, particularly because of his awkwardness, but you have to admire Hermione, because she puts the hours in at the library, she's the cement really that holds it all together, well, it would be a different story without her. I want to know more about Severus, there's so much depth there. Visually, though, it has to be Hagrid; he's got a wonderful heart, clothed in an enormous, shabby body. Hagrid's hut is, for me, like an extension of his physique: it makes him a part of Hogwarts, but keeps him at a distance too.
More (including a picture of Hogwarts) here.
Dawn Mooney of 5 Minutes for Books is a Cybils regular, and this year she brings us her expertise as a Round 1 panelist for Fiction Picture Books. Whether she's looking at books for older readers or younger ones, she brings her own voice to a wonderful group blog that reviews books for everyone from babies to adults.
A couple of weeks ago, Dawn posted about "quieter" nominated titles for Cybils this year--picture books that aren't necessarily boisterous or active, but foster quiet thinking and are no less absorbing. One of those titles is perfect for the upcoming winter season: Once Upon a Northern Night, by Jean E. Pendziwol and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. In her review, Dawn says,
The poem evokes that feeling that descends with the freshly falling snow, and I can’t help but want to pull my children onto my lap underneath a warm fuzzy blanket to read this one.
Click here to read the rest of the review, plus reviews of four more Cybils nominees.
Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last week:
“Self” Publishing: It Takes a Team (Elizabeth Weed) http://writerunboxed.com/2013/12/06/self-p
Approaching Messy First Drafts (Elizabeth Spann Craig) http://elizabethspanncraig.com/1559/appr
The Fierce Urgency of Now (Discoverability Part 3) (Kristine Kathryn Rusch)
Imaginary Audience: 6 Tips on Envisioning Your Readership (Robbie Blair)
We Have to Believe (Rachelle Gardner)
Keeping a Professional Distance From our Book (Elizabeth Spann Craig)
On Third-Party Queriers or "Agent-agents", and Sapsuckers (Jennifer Laughran)
Don't Fall For Vanity Radio (Victoria Strauss)
Readers Aren't Elephants (Kathryn Lilley)
Pay Proper Attention to Your Bio (Jane Friedman)
The hardest thing an agent does (Janet Kobobel Grant)
If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2012, and last week’s list.
If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time). Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.
There is an undercurrent of angst in Agents of SHIELD, with Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) occasionally gazing out of a tiny aeroplane window pondering his mysterious death and resurrection. But since every single SHIELD character is primed to communicate in quips and pop-culture references, it can be hard to downshift into non-snarky melodrama. Every single Arrow character feels guilty about forbidden love or killing someone or being an alcoholic, and they're happy to talk about it at great length without cracking wise. Weirdly, these Sunset Beach excursions make Arrow feel more like an old-fashioned comic book.
I am posting this image purely for my sister, who continues watching the show in the hope that Ollie will do that ladder pull-up stunt again.--->