November 18, 2015

Polishing the Stone

By Lisa Asenato

How does one transfer thoughts, emotions and passion from their heart to the page in a publishable manner?  That is the question I hope to answer today.

I have been writing for a little over thirteen years, and one of the most important things I have learned is that the process cannot happen in a vacuum. 

When writing, we sometimes chip away at a scene word by painful word, or we hit a beautiful stride and the words are flowing and the story is magically popping onto the screen before our very eyes.  As the artist placing each noun and verb in its appropriate place, we sometimes lose our ability to critically judge our own work.

We may think it is simply not working, or we may believe it is perfection, the next NYT bestseller.   As much as I strive for the latter, I have found I am often not in a place to determine whether or not the story is working and flowing as much as I might think I can.

That is where the value of a good critique group comes in.  For me, my critique group is not a luxury but an absolute necessity.  I am fortunate enough to belong to a group of published professionals representing many mainstream genres.  This provides a sense of balance with each piece of fiction written.

Our group consists of 12 members, although all do not come every time we meet.  We are all pursuing publication, not just writing for self-fulfillment, which tends to make critiquing the manuscript easier and more cohesive.

We meet on a regular basis, twice a month.  Our leader is not only brilliant, but fantastic at keeping us on task and enforcing the rules.  We do not deviate during a critique to other topics.  The person whose work is being critiqued cannot speak.  They must only listen, and apply those changes to their manuscript as they see appropriate. Only constructive and specific comments are allowed.  We also do not bring the same chapter or scene twice.  We bring it once, have it critiqued and move on. We usually do not bring more than 2500 words unless we are trying to get something out for a contest or a deadline.  We have other rules which are strictly enforced, but rather than providing an atmosphere of inflexibility, the structure provides an excellent place to learn and think.

If you do not have a critique group in your area, perhaps you can start one yourself?  Gather some genre writers together, forge rules you believe will work best, or feel free to use our rules, and begin to meet. 

Your work will evolve, becoming smoother and cleaner. The dead weight will be eliminated, the plot and motivation will be sharpened, and the story will shine in a way you envisioned it.  You will also find yourself staying on task more during your working hours as you will want to have your 2500 words to bring to your next critique group meeting.
Lisa Asenato would be delighted to visit your bookstore, library, or function to read, speak, and/or sign copies of her newest release, “Pirate by Night”.  Lisa is from beautiful and often snowy, upstate New York, and is a lover of romance, happy endings, and her Creator.  She is published in both fiction and non-fiction and loves to encourage those who are also seeking publication. Her latest novel, “Pirate by Night.” Social Media Information: Website: Email: Facebook:  Lisa Asenato, Author of Inspirational Historical Romance

No comments:

Post a Comment