Book critique part deux

romanceJoe’s Post #29 — Let’s look at this in the terms of a quest. A nearly impossible quest. Handsome hero, four brave and beautiful women… wait, hold on, this is not a porn story you pervs, this is a epic story of 5 new writers struggling to complete a novel and (against all odds, against the advice of saner people) get it published.

There will be many challenges. Some external. Some internal. Some we will fight together, some we must fight alone. Some will seem insurmountable but no matter what gets thrown at us, we will struggle on.

But will we succeed?

Time will tell.

To do that, we’ll have to overcome some mighty challenges in the next few months. May 15th is the deadline to get the other books done. June 16th we will start the critiques.

First beastie we must defeat…

Books writtenWe have only 6 weeks. May 15th is not that far away. It may seem like it but that date lurks on another page of the calendar. It’s there, trust me, and it could easily sneak up on any one of us. So, the first real challenge will be that deadline.

Books Critiqued: When the 15th passes, we’ll be looking at 4 books each. That’s about 100,000 words to read. Times 4. Four books in 4 weeks. That’s no small order. It’s a super-sized critiquing task with extra fries. Mmmm fries.

So, how can we do this?

We cannot procrastinate. I was going to write that for the last post but I put it off. If we any one of us, and I am perhaps the worst procrastinator in the group, if any of us leave that job until the last week, then we won’t be able to give the writer value. Simple as that. Forget writing a book in 5 months, try critiquing one in a week. Go on, try it. Haul out 50 shades and have at it. You’ll see.

Giving the Writer Something of Value: Now we’ve always been a writers group that caters to the writer. What does that mean? It means we focus on the good as much as the bad. It means we look at anything the writer wants us to look at. It means that that last thing we want is to shut down anyone and stop them from writing.

Spending a whole day critiquing someone’s work, though, runs the risk of becoming a shred-the-writer-and-laugh-when-they-cry time. A day, as long as that sounds, is not a lot of time to go over a whole novel and the tendency will be to look at what needs to be fixed, but what we will also have to remember, (yes, Mr. Joe, that means YOU!) is that there will be good stuff in there as well. 50 Shades sold on shock and awe, not on great literary writing, but that was enough to make the writer billions. As much as we will look at things that didn’t quite work for us, we must also say things like, “hey, your description of the faerie princess rocked; I never thought of one with a Mohawk and pirate patch.”

Make no mistake, these next 6 weeks will be hard on us, but in the end, we’ll all be that much better writers for the effort.

Now, I must leave town for a while. I said I would get 10 queries out and I got only 2. Someone I know and greatly fear will be driving out to kick my ass. Anyone know a good country to hide in?

However, I now have a list, stamps, envelopes, good, quality paper and a tracking site so, Mr. Joe, no more excuses. 10. Get it done.

Plus, I did re-start my movie review blog thanks to the inspiration from someone new in my life. Someone amazing.

Next week, a blog about my querying process (and not curling up in a fetal position, but where to look for agents, where I’ve sent my queries, and a few other tasty tidbits).

10 thoughts on “Book critique part deux

  1. Although I can’t tell you how much I love being cast as one of 4 “brave and beautiful women”, this post is a scary monster. You’re so right about everything except one thing. I hold the procrastination title, not you. Hey — I have to be first in SOMETHING!

    • Thanks! I love your pixar, post, Christi! That is something everyone should put on their wall. Personally, I may have it tattooed to my chest, upside down, so I can read it.

  2. A timely post Joe. And I bet I know who is driving out to kick your butt. Take heed, I believe he may have pepper spray and handcuffs!

    Oh, and have fries officially replaced donuts?

  3. I’m EAGERLY anticipating your next post on querying. I hope that it’s a long and detailed post, and that Madam Asskicker cuffs your feet to your desk, forcing you to to complete it quickly, so that you can attend to your other tasks. I also hope she leaves the pepper spray in the car. 😉

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