authorcjl

communicating


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Blog hop: 7 Things You Don’t know About Me

Thank Rocky Rochford for this. Seven things you probably don’t know about me–and that’s totally ok. πŸ™‚

1) You can never go wrong by just adding water. This is especially true of Pacific Northwesterners.

2) I’m a decades-long member of the Society For Creative Anachronism, Inc. The Middle Ages as they should have been, with indoor plumbing and no plagues. A hobby that encompasses about a zillion other hobbies. LEARN ALL THE THINGS!

3) I love mentoring people in those endeavors which interest them and in which I have a clue. If I don’t have a clue, I’ll send them to someone who does. Then I’ll ask them later what they learned–grooming future teachers is always a great honor.

4) I have a quirky sense of humor and make no apologies for it. As the saying goes, “Schroedinger’s cat walked into a bar . . . and didn’t.” Or . . . did it?

5) Never, *ever* blow a dog whistle around me. The sound tends to awaken a homicidal streak.Although, I suppose, there are times when that could be useful.

6) I love singing and storytelling. Early music is beautiful and amazing, and prodigies and wonders abound. Consider it a lifelong love affair.

7) My world revolves far more around metaphysics than physics, more the Idea of the star than the physicality of the star. Philosophers make you crazy? Just add water. πŸ˜‰


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Handling Criticism

Or, Turning Criticism Into Critiquing

Today, a writer friend of mine got a negative review on one of his works. It was his first bad review.

Sure, the positive reviews make us feel wonderful. Powerful. Freaking IMMORTAL.

And the negative ones can drag us down into a sinkhole of depression. A deep one. That falls through to the other side of the planet.

So how best to handle these reviews that get us down? Short of screaming invective, punching the walls, and hiding in a dark closet sobbing uncontrollably?

Those of you who know me best know that I have a very long background in the performing arts. A book, like a piece of music, is a transcient thing–it unfolds through time, never to be experienced the same way again. This is exactly why critical analysis of your own work post-publication is so important.

And ego is a pesky little bugaboo that contributes nothing useful to that particular conversation.

Of course it can be hard to cast ego aside. We lost sleep, we forgot to eat, we poured our heart and soul and every bit of relevant minutiae we could find into the book that someone else just shot down. Of course, our ego is going to throw a conniption.

STOP with the emotional outburst for a few. Put yourself in your reviewer’s shoes. First off, you’re two different people, not clones of each other. Take what they said and give it to the analytical side of your brain to think about, attempting to see it from their point of view. Use their words as a starting point in critiquing your own book. You might be surprised by the insights you get back in turn.

THEN you can scream invective, punch walls, and hide yourself in a dark closet sobbing into your bathrobe.

Venting Is good too. πŸ™‚


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Top Ten Writing Mistakes Editors See Every Day

Great article! Reblogged. πŸ™‚

Confessions of a Creative Writing Teacher

Goya -The sleep of reason produces monsters (c1799) recut

In addition to writing and teaching, one of the things I do for a living is to evaluate manuscripts for their suitability for publication. I read fiction (and non-fiction) across several genres, and write comprehensive reports on the books. I try always to guide the author towards knocking his or her project into a shape that could be credibly presented to literary agents, publishers and general readers. You know how Newman and Mittelmark introduce How Not to Write a Novel by saying, β€˜We are merely telling you the things that editors are too busy rejecting your novel to tell you themselves, pointing out the mistakes they recognize instantly because they see them again and again in novels they do not buy,’ well they’re right; I am one of those editors.

However good the idea behind a novel, when the author is still learning the craft of writing – like any…

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