critique group, personal, writing

Historical or Contemporary Fiction?

After many people told me I looked sick yesterday at church, I gave in and went to the doctor. It was what I thought. I sinus infection. No fever, but just plain miserable. So…I got a steroid shot – those sting, by the way – an antibiotic, and an icky bubble-gum flavored syrup for congestion and coughing.

Today, I am better. I thought I was achy because I laid on the couch reading, watching movies, and writing during our unheard-of-four-snow-days-in-a-row week! But no, I was really sick. I’m glad I had the snow days to rest and recover, but I’m hoping the state gives us a waiver so that we don’t have to make up that many days! Wishful thinking maybe, but I can hope.

During my time off, I started submitting my speculative contemporary romance to the big ACFW crit loop and have gotten some pretty good feedback. So… I think I’ll continue working on it and maybe enter it in a contest to see how it fares. I saw that some contests had speculative genres open. (Interesting, huh?) I am still dreaming and plotting out my regency and hope to start that one in the near future. I better get busy!

Entering both my historical and contemporary writing into the crit loop has been eye opening. I’ve gotten way more feed back – and quicker feedback –  on my contemporary, rather than my historical. I’ve really been amazed at the difference!

Do you think more people prefer contemporary over historical? What do you think?

critique group, critiquing, writing

What’s A Beta Reader?

I keep hearing about beta beaders and wondered what the difference was between a beta reader and a critique partner. So after much googling, I didn’t find a whole lot of difference.

Beta Reader:

A beta reader is someone who agrees to look over a piece of fiction for spelling, grammar, characterization, and continuity errors. Unlike a true editor, a beta reader is typically unpaid, and he or she sees the work at a very rough state. Many authors like to use beta readers to improve the quality of their work before they submit it for professional editing and critique, and betareaders are usually profusely thanked in acknowledgments, in recognition of the time and energy which they invested in the work. (according to

beta reader (also spelled betareader, or shortened to beta) is a person who reads a written work, generally fiction, with what has been described[1] as “a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammarspellingcharacterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public.” (according to


Peer critique, a specialized form of critique, is the common practice of writers reviewing and providing constructive criticism of each other’s work. Most fiction writers use some form of peer critique as part of their process of writing. (according to

Hhhmmm, sounds like the same thing. So is it? I have no idea. What do you think? Is there a difference?

critique group, critiquing, editing

Critiquing Does Help!

I am in the midst of editing my first finished novel and have joined a crit group to get some feedback on my work. Can I just say that everyone should have other sets of eyes look at their work at some point? Yes, indeed, you definitely need other people to help you learn how to make your book better.

I’ve been through my novel a few times, but am so new at this revision thing, I’m not great at finding problems. So it was a humbling experience to see all the issues brought up when the crits came back. These ladies were kind and encouraging, but my face did burn with embarrassment when I saw the stupid mistakes I had made.

Hhmmm, you mean I never realized that a knight would question why a teenage boy couldn’t ride a horse? Hel-lo! Why would a knight agree to take on this boy (which is really an escaped woman from a convent) as his squire and teach him how to ride? And why would this knight blindly accept the fact this boy can’t ride a horse? Why, indeed?

Grrrr…I felt really stupid.

But you know, I was so glad to have it pointed out to me. I needed someone to show me what was wrong, so I could make it better! Isn’t it amazing how you can justify the things you write, while unknowingly open up huge plot holes in the process?

Or maybe you don’t write stupid things like me.

But if you have, would you mind sharing? What silly things have you written that you later caught in your editing, or were pointed out to you by others?

Come on, make me feel better!

critique group, editing, personal, weight loss

Fatless Friday, Editing and Critiquing

I have good news! I lost another 2.4 pounds, giving me a total of 22.6 pounds. I am so happy with that!

Now, for the not so good news. I haven’t edited since Monday. I KNOW!!!! Isn’t that terrible? I haven’t been able to edit at lunch because there have been 2 luncheons and other things that have gotten in the way. Also, Tuesday night I had a ladies Christmas party and didn’t get home until 9:30 p.m. Last night I had choir practice and didn’t get home until 9 p.m. Tonight I went to my son’s basketball game and after cooking supper, running to the store to pick up medicines, and cleaning the kitchen, I just didn’t have the energy to edit.

So why don’t I stay up late and do it? Well, I’m tired, thank you very much. Krista, T.Anne, and Marybeth are all editing away and I am not. I think my only saving grace is that I will have 2 weeks off in one more week. Then I will get to my edits. (of course, they will have finished by then, I’m sure!) No worries….we are all winners!

Now, for the Critique News! I let Lynnette Labelle do a little matchmaking and she formed a Critique Group for romance writers. There are 5 of us and we have set up a Yahoo Group to do our critiques. Three of us have up loaded a chapter and I am looking forward to getting to read them. (I haven’t yet, due to the crazy week!)

I have gotten 2 critiques on my first chapter and I am amazed at the good feedback I’ve gotten. Yes, there are places that need work, but it was great to see what others see. I like having confirmation on things I’ve wondered about and I had some new things shown to me that I had never thought about before! I’m excited about how this will make my writing stronger.

So this has been my week. The good, the bad, and the new! How has yours been? How are you doing with your writing goals? Any successes? Any procrastination going on? 🙂