Why Should I Attend the Asheville Christian Writers’ Conference? Make the Most of Your 15-Minute Conference Appointments – Cindy Sproles 7 Things to Do NOW to be Ready When Writing Inspiration Strikes – Edie Melson You Need a Platform – Living A Story- Assignment 3 Redundancy: An Excessive, Oppressive, Pervasive Disease The One Sheet The Bio – The Fragrance of Who You Are Over-Edit? Imagery–When This is Like That Basic Writing and Editing Tips Blog or Website—Which One Does a Writer Really Need? – Edie Melson A Blog about Blogging My Blogging Affair – Terri Webster My GPS Writing Life: “Recalculating” – Elva Cobb Martin Is Your Blog Healthy? Conferences – Finding Direction Navigating Your Writing Success Why Your Writer’s Bio is Valuable Real Estate Rejection – Before You Blow Your Stack Evaluate Your Progress on the Writing Path – Edie Melson So You Were Asked to be a Beta Reader Writing the Perfect Bio Writers Call Out – Chicken Soup for the Soul 2014 Cleaning Guide for Writers (Critiques) Pray Uniquely Write Right – A Christian Writing Career Writers ADVANCE! Boot Camp 2015 Writers Call Out – Chicken Soup for the Soul The Conference is Over – Awe, Man! Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas in Canada 15 Minute Appointments – Cindy Sproles Break Out of Your Writer’s Cell – Denise Loock Writers Call Out Assignment 3 – Conflict in Every Scene? Writers Call Out – Chicken Soup for the Soul Assignment 2 – Gaining Word Count Assignment 1 – Picture Perfect Bio Writing as a Ministry Titles – Terrible or Terrific? How 5 Simple Tips Can Change Everything Rejection – Before You Blow Your Stack 10 Reasons NOT to Become a Novelist Commas – Bethany Kaczmarek Compounds Are Not that Complex – Bethany Kaczmarek Divorce My Words…Never! Get Your Grammar Fix (ed) – What Kind of Mood Are You In, Verb? Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer’s & Other Forms of Dementia Find Your Blog’s Subscriber List and Schedule Email Notifications with Feedburner Writers Call Out – Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reboot Your Life And Objective Look at Subjectivity My Take on…Creating Villians – Part 2 Mike Dellosso My Take On . . . Villains, Part 1 – Mike Dellosso Chicken Soup for the Soul – Writers Call Out Touching the Spirit of Our Readers Writers Call Out – Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home First in Fiction – Characters – Aaron Gansky Critiques – No Pain, No Gain Making Time to Rest Writers Call Out The End – Saying Goodbye to a Story Writing’s Circle of Life Here a Tweak, There a Tweak, Everywhere a Tweak, Tweak What’s So Wrong with Waiting? Writers Call Out – Chicken Soup Books Emotion – Moving the Reader from Common to Uncommon Writers Call Out – Chicken Soup for the Soul Writing the Best You Can Bringing Security Blankets to Conferences—Tips for the Linus-Writers “Who Wants to Write a Story With Me?” CONTEST! – Mike Dellosso How to Get Amazon Reviews – Eddie Jones Freedom as a Holy Ghost Writer – Edie Melson My Worth Is NOT Determined by My Numbers – Edie Melson An Author’s Responsibilty – Cindy Sproles Call Out for Writers Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers – Author Edie Melson Carolina Christian Writers Conference Chicken Soup Writing Opportunity The Tweet Life, Why Bother with Twitter? Angels, Miracles, and Heavenly Encounters – Writing Op How Writing an Article is Like Feeding a Baby – Edie Melson After the Conference…then what? Assignment 5 – Characteristics of a Lazy Writer Assignment 4 – TickyToes@urggggmail.com Assignment 3 – Pack a Punch When You Write Top Ten Authors Southern Writers Awards Boot Camp Free Subscriptions Assignment 2 – Vonda Skelton How to Make an Appointment Why I Should Make an Appointment Keep Your Image Current Top Five Blogspots Be an Encourager – Cindy Sproles Learning the Lingo – Part 4 – Appointment Etiquette with Agents/Editors Learning the Lingo – Part 3 – Publishing Terms Learn the Lingo – Critique Groups – Part 2 Learning the Lingo – Steps to Understand the Art of Writing and Publishing – Part 1 Preparing to Attend a Writers Conference Writing the Perfect Bio Don’t Forget! Writing Opportunity – Zookeepers Ministry Is SEO Dead? – Edie Melson What’s Holding You Back?

Critiques – No Pain, No Gain

cartoon courtesy of krisasselin.blogspot.com

by Cindy Sproles Conference season has arrived and I’ve spent the last two weeks working through manuscripts sent by conferees. Many editors  choose not to do critiques simply because of time constraints. I have my own time issues but that doesn’t stop me from doing critiques. Yes, it’s cumbersome. Yes, it takes time (lots of time). Yes, I’ll offend someone. But is it worth it? You bet. I look at critiques as a No Pain, No Gain sorta thing. When I spend time gleaning through others work, I learn myself. I’m forced to refer to the Chicago Manual of Style and research. I’ve been known to pull out my own work that was critiqued and revisit issues I can use to help others. My desk is piled high with self-editing books, plotting books, and file folders filled with information. When I do a critique, I want the writer to learn. There’s pain involved for me as the critiquer, as well as for the person whose work is under the gun.  I have rewrites of the rewrites of the critiques I do, just to assure I am clear, kind and encouraging when I place that critiqued manuscript back into the hands of the writer. It’s important to lift those we strive to teach rather than shred them (and I’ve had some critiques on my own work that brought me to tears.) Eddie Jones and I attended a conference in Myrtle Beach, SC a few years ago. We served as moderators for a “first page critique class”. Eddie and I stood at the back of the room as the first pages of writers manuscripts were flashed on the wall and publicly torn to pieces. The anticipation of having something nice said about their work was quickly dashed to the ground, stomped and tossed out the double doors onto the beach. Three publishers appeared to make it a challenge to see who could slash and hack the most. I felt terrible for those whose names were shining on the screen — their hours of work trounced and their dreams shattered. When the class ended, Eddie stepped to the front of the room in an effort to break the tension. “We’ll have a counselor provided just outside the door for those who need help after the public thrashing.” Critiques are hard. Our work is on the line. Our favorite sentences are on trial. But it’s important to understand nothing comes easy. Manuscripts have to be worked and reworked in order to make them the best they can be. The hardest critique I’ve done was a manuscript from a college level teacher, who…get this…had a BA in English. I read his credentials and assumed I’d being reading the perfect work when in fact, it was the worst written manuscript I’ve ever seen. My challenge was finding the balance between hard and loving for this work. Ultimately, his attitude when we sit to discuss the work will set the pace. Will he fight through the pain to gain a better grasp of the work at hand? When you choose to go for a critique you can expect the following: *The mechanics of your writing to be questioned. *Suggestions to strengthen sentence structure and readability *Sections of your favorite words to be “deleted” *Guidance on how to make your work more presentable so publishers will take note Don’t be offended by the offer of good, solid help. A critique is not personal. The information is not an attack on you as a writer, rather it’s an effort to help you bring the best work you can to the table. Should you invest in a paid critique at a conference? By all means. It’s an investment in your career. Where else will you get this type of one-on-one help and guidance? Remember to remain true to your personal voice in writing but take heed to the suggestions that might just cause you a little pain. Work through the pain, improve, and before you know it…you’ll gain success.

Christian Devotions Ministries - www.christiandevotions.us - A 501c3 non-profit organization.
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