Writing Critique Partners: POVs


If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own. ~Henry Ford

An art whose medium is language will always show a high degree of critical creativeness, for speech is itself a critique of life: it names, it characterizes, it passes judgment, in that it creates. ~Thomas Mann

I enjoy writing, but hate editing. I’ll do it, but it is a painful experience. From what I’ve read, a good number of you agree. Recently, I wrote two longer stories for submissions as opposed to the shorter/flash fiction I put up on Tale Spinning. For those tales I knew that if I was to have any chance of success they would have to be edited.

Luckily, I had a number of people I could call on to give my work an editorial eye. What I found enlightening was, through five different POV’s (points of views), that all who responded to my call saw something different. Grammatical changes pretty much were the same, with punctuation styles varying from one to the other.

What changed was how they approached the work: solely as Editor; solely as a reader of the genre; or a combination of the two. This allowed me to take what was offered, evaluate what I wrote through others eyes, and then edit myself to the point I felt I produced the best work possible.

To see the results of this: Nyctophilia (entered for the Figment/HarperCollins YA Defy the Dark contest). If the link does not work for you (and I think it only works in the US): go to Figment and type in the name of the story in the search box. I’d be interested in your comments, as I do think this story is publishable. The other story has been submitted, and only time will tell (both submissions had a September 1, 2012 cut off).

I want to thank the following for their time and effort: Golden Eagle; Allan Douglas; Roy A. Ackerman; Lisa Vooght;and someone who wishes to remain anonymous. The links are to their blogs. They are all well written, all interesting, and all very different POVs. Check them out.

Writers:

  • How do you edit your work? 
  • Do you hate editing your own work?
  • Do you have Beta Readers/Critique Partners?
  • Are you part of a writing group?
  • If you have an editor that you work with consistently, how did you find her/him?

Origins of Creativity in Writing


There are numerous Blogfests running on any given day. Some are ongoing and others are one shots. With all that run, I do tend to pick around the lot, finding the ones that really interest me…and, hopefully, you.

Origins: When did your writing dream begin? is the brain child of DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude,  and he has three co-hosts: Katie Mills aka Creepy Query Girl ; Matthew MacNish at The QQQE ; and Alex Cavanaugh at Alex J. Cavanaugh.

To find the other blogs participating in this blogfest, click HERE or the Origins logo. There are close to 200 writers participating. Check them out.

I’ve also written a Flash Fiction piece  Origins: Entitled on my creative fiction blog, Tale Spinning. I hope you enjoy the story.

I can’t really pinpoint an exact time when writing became one of my dreams. It feels like it’s always been there, at the back of everything I’ve done in my life.  I don’t feel I’ve ever been tied down to wanting to “be” just one thing, ever. When I have done that, I find that I tend to get bored: especially the times when I’ve played the money game (read: non-creative pursuits).

As a kid, I read comics, watched TV and went to the movies. Outside of school projects, I would create little things for myself. Mini-comics were a way to pass time when I was bored in class. I’d take paper and fold it down, and then again, creating a sequential booklet for myself to draw in (lots of stick figures) and write short pieces. These would get passed around to friends later. I don’t remember ever getting caught.

There were stories I wrote for sleep-away camp newspapers, mainly mash-ups (yes, plagiarisms) of others work, combining different elements into one piece. While never criticized for that, I was often praised for “imaginative writing” and writing skills. I knew the truth, and just shrugged my shoulders.

High school changed that. I worked on the DeWitt Clinton newspaper for a year, writing articles, learning the craft of setting up the newspaper from scratch. I was really involved, and was going to be promoted to an editor’s slot when my parents told me we were moving to Westchester County. While my dreams of the paper were shot at that point (the new HS paper was not very open to someone new coming in), I did continue to write.

Off and on, I would write poetry, short stories, begin ideas for novels…and more times than not they would languish, first just as a pile of legal pad paper and then committed electronically and saved. All through this, I was always hoping I’d have my name on a book (or comic book) as a writer. It was a passing dream that wove itself throughout most of my life, a goal I always hoped I’d achieve.

2011 saw a new stage of writing for me. I created my second blog, Tale Spinning, for experiments in creative writing. Starting only in February of that year, I wound up writing close to 200 short pieces of fiction. I’ve now had two short stories published in anthologies, have my own eStory published, received a number of blogging/writing awards, been asked to write a number of guest blogs, and have won a few online writing contests.

Still to come: holding that physical book with my name on the cover in my hands.

The Initial Spark (The Creativity Series: Guest Blog)


The Creativity Series: Guest Post

The Initial Spark: Derek Flynn

 

Stu wanted a post about creativity and the first thought that struck me was the initial act of creativity. As writers, we all know about the second and third and sixteenth drafts, and the critiques and so on, but what about the initial spark. What about that moment when you first pull the words out of the ether and put them together into a sequence that (hopefully) makes sense?

This set me thinking about writers going back a century ago, and their initial act of creation. It’s very different from writers today. Even just going back to the Forties or Fifties – before the advent of television and certainly before the advent of the internet – a writer sitting in a room was not bombarded with any of the things that they are now. There was no sensory overload. The writer sat – as many writers still do – with a pen and paper, or at a typewriter, but the mind worked differently.

Many writers probably still sit quietly writing and don’t have all this external flotsam coming in, but I would imagine that’s increasingly less common. There’s this constant multi-tasking going on. Previously, if a writer got to a point where they needed to research something, they would have just made a note – “Need to research that” – and gone back to the writing, or gone off and picked up an encyclopaedia. But the speed which we can research something now is amazing. And, of course, this is not always a good thing. Because while you can research 18th century Parisian townhouses in a couple of Google clicks, this doesn’t make up for the two hours subsequently lost reading about the Three Musketeers. (No idea how I got to that page!)

For a long time – probably since the first person sat at a desk with parchment and a writing implement – writers pretty much sat at their desks and wrote. And they still do, but there are different ways of going about it now. I often use a Dictaphone, and it’s a much more off-the-cuff, stream-of-consciousness way of writing. So, I can be dictating whilst looking at something else, and all these ideas are coming at me, and I can stop and research, and so on. And oftentimes I’m just throwing down random ideas, rather than necessarily keeping on a constant train of thought.

It’s an interesting way to work. It’s not a way that I used to work. And, funnily enough, when I dictate while I’m out walking, I actually write more “conventionally” because I’ll get on a roll and I’ll start to write an actual whole scene. When I’m at my desk dictating, oftentimes another idea pops into my head because of something I’ve just seen on the computer and I’ll go off on a tangent with that. And I know there are writers who would gasp in horror at the idea that you would write with all this going on around you, but I think that’s the difference between the initial writing and the later edits. I would find it impossible to edit and rewrite that way; for the later drafts, I have to work from hard copy and the computer has to be shut off.

But it’s the initial phase that I’m interested in, and that initial phase of creation has certainly changed radically for writers in recent times and I think will continue to do so.

 

 

Derek Flynn is an Irish writer and musician. He’s been published in a number of publications, including The Irish Times, and was First Runner-Up in the 2011 J. G. Farrell Award for Best Novel-In-Progress. His writing/music blog – ‘Rant, with Occasional Music’ – can be found here: http://derekflynn.wordpress.com and on Twitter, he can be found here: http://twitter.com/#!/derekf03