Monday, October 24, 2011

The Monster Mash

Today the blog chain is seasonably themed with this question from Matt:

What is your all-time favorite monster? 

This time of year is all about monsters and things that go bump in the night... and I'm not really into those things. I am a weenie and a scaredy-cat who has a hard time sitting through scary movies. While for most people Halloween is the time of year to celebrate chills and thrills, for me it is the time of year to celebrate the joy of fun-sized 3 Musketeers.

They are so much fun though that I often have trouble stopping with just one, which could result in me becoming a Homer Simpson type monster.

That though is definitely NOT my favorite monster. Honestly picking one favorite is kinda difficult. If I go the sexy monster route then we are definitely gonna take a trip into Buffy-land. But once there - do I choose Angel or Spike? 

Okay, let's skip that question - I can't choose. Instead, let's go with my other favorite kind of monsters - the Muppety kind.

Again there are several choices:

In the end though, I have to give the title of favorite monster to Cookie. Cause I know he could take down a bag of fun size candy bars too.

Want to see more monsters? Well this chain is just getting started. To keep following along head on over to Cole's blog next. 

And in the meantime - who is your favorite monster?

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Little Help From My Friends

 Is it blog chain time again? Why yes it is. And Sarah started us off with this question:

Do you work with critique partners? How did you find your crit pals, and what influence have they had on your work?

To answer the questions briefly and in order, my answers are as follows:

Do you work with critique partners? Hell yes!
How did you find your crit pals? Here and there.
What influence have they had on your work? TONS!!!! Seriously, OMG so much influence.

So what I like about this question is that it doesn't ask about beta readers, but specifically refers to crit partners or pals, which to me implies an ongoing relationship and exchange of work and ideas and support between two (or more) people.

There is just something about exchanging your work with another person. In a lot of ways it is an act of faith. You put the time into not only reading but really thinking and commenting on someone else's work, and hope that on their end they are doing the same thing.

Sometimes it can blow up in your face. I had one truly awful crit exchange experience that to this day makes me shake my head in disgust when I think about it. But I didn't let that one experience stop me from reaching out to other people, and putting my work in their hands and in return putting my time into reading the work they put into mine.

When I was in the beginning stages of writing Another Little Piece, I had that "ooh this is really something" feeling. Of course, who doesn't have that feeling at the start of a new WIP? I was also experimenting a bit and playing with form - switching pronouns, moving around in the timeline, and even adding bits of poetry. It felt like it was working, but I couldn't shake the worry that it might also be a hot mess.

I needed feedback, and I found it at the Absolute Write Water Cooler. I exchanged work with several different people, and found one person whose advice I became addicted to - the amazing Alyson Greene. As I wrote, I sent chunks of my MS to her, and receiving her feedback while I was in the midst of writing was not only motivational, but also incorporating her criticisms as I wrote helped me subtly change course as I went forward, which saved me from having to double-back and fix tons of things later.

But here's the really great thing about the crit partner relationship - you get something out of giving too. Reading someone else's work - you learn from their strengths and you share in their weaknesses. And when your partner tells you that their notes helped make their story stronger - that is just an awesome amazing feeling.

Now let's keep that amazing feeling going. Leave a comment about how much your crit parners mean to you, and then keep following along on the blog chain by checking out Abby's post before mine and Matt's directly after.