Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Prepping for Marathon!

It's that time of year again when my thoughts turn to critiquing because my online writing group, The Speculative Fiction Group on Agent Query Connect, is getting ready to participate in another summer marathon. I've had to duck out of critiquing for the last two or three years in order to publish my book and because of personal events, so I'm excited to jump back into the arena and take the opportunity to enjoy other people's stories and learn a thing or two to improve my own writing.

I'm hoping for great new stories to read and to be able to see how other members of my group have grown and improved with their craft. I'm always amazed at the range of critiques and styles. It's actually a humbling experience because it reminds me that I have room for improvement.

To help myself and other prepare for the Marathon I'm posting links to previous blogposts dealing with past marathons and writing craft. Even if you're not a member of my writing group, I hope you can find these posts helpful. New comments are welcome.

Wondering what our marathons are like or how to hold a critiquing marathon? We take 12 weeks, Mondays through Saturdays. Mondays, people post a chapter or two (if chapters are very small) and Tuesday though Saturday, other people read and critique. We vote on whether or not the chapters are polished in order for the submitter to post new material the next week. If their chapter isn't quite there yet, we vote no, so they can go back and edit and fix the problem, re-post the fixed chapter the following week, and have a chance to move forward. It's amazing to see the growth, the insight, and to watch people rise to the challenge. You can't have a thin skin, and yes, we've had people get upset or think everyone else is bonkers and fall out. It happens. Overall, after doing this for five years, now in our sixth, I think it's our group's crowning purpose. Many people have gone on to do well with agents and publishing, or at the very least, have grown substantially as both a critic and a writer.

As a last parting thought, if this sounds like something you'd like to be involved in and you write speculative fiction, think about applying to join our group. We're always open to new members.

On Characterization:
We Are Onions Not Turnips
A Little Personality
Guest Post: E.M. LaBonte on What Makes a Protagonist Likeable?

On World Building:
Falling in Love with Your World
How Much World Building Do You Need?
World Building: Think Big, Be Creative, Have Fun!

On Critiquing and Taking a Critique:
Get Me My Sword, The Fight Is On!
Over-Editing and Self-Esteem
Receiving Manuscript Feedback
The Critiquing Dilemma
The Courage To Be You

On Writing:
Disappearing Language
The Posting/Critiquing Marathon Part 1: What I've Learned So Far
The Posting/Critiquing Marathon Part 2: In Conclusion, What I've Learned
Manuscript Disease Top 10 Symptoms
A Public Service Message Regarding Unpolished Manuscripts
Because: One of the Most Important Words a Writer Can Use ...
Fun Ideas and Tips #9: Using the Ending to Create the Beginning
Opposition is a Good Thing
Don't Buy That Method!
Your Story, Your Spin
What is Talent?
Enticing Your Readers
Fulfilling Your Promises to the Reader

On Editing:
Guest Post: Five Tips for Editing & a Few Resources
Trimming the Manuscript Part 1: The Nitpicks Revision
Trimming the Manuscript Part 2: Too Much Plot?--It Happens
Because You Love It--Great! Now Rewrite It.
Cutting Down Character Count or How to Amputate 101
Don't Spend So Much Time Polishing Your Beginning ...
Adjectives, Adverbs, and Sneaky Profanity