Critique Groups

After many query rejections and some positive feedback, I’ve just finished my latest revision of the story I ‘finished’ (ha, ha, ha) in August. There’s no doubt I’ve revised this thing at least ten times, and have edited it to death, edited in fact from 113,000 words down to 72,000. I can do no more, and I think it is finally time for a critique partner, or group.

Do all of you have them? I fear commitments like this, which is why I haven’t sought anyone out before. But I think I need it, and I don’t want to ask hubby to read it again, even though he is brutally honest.

Anyway, if you have a second, please let me know how you went about this process, and whether you and your critique partners do a line-by-line edit, or a global, big picture view.  Also, do you all write the same genre? Any feedback would be awesome!  Thanks!

Campfire Mint Rejection

Imagine my excitement over pulling into the grocery store parking lot, and seeing girls in blue vests selling one of my favorite treats–Campfire Mints! My pre-mint euphoria scattered away my ‘poor me’ fog, which came after helping my own daughter pre-sell 91 boxes of Girl Scout cookies–none of which I can eat, because I can’t have wheat/gluten. Beloved Thin Mints and Samoas, I’ll miss you:(

Anyway, I sold Campfire Mints when I proudly wore my Bluebirds vest all those years ago. Man, I hated it. I hated selling stuff, because I couldn’t stand it when people said ‘no’. Those heartless people (my mom called them that) were just doing me a favor–paving the way for me, for the years of rejection to come. I didn’t know it then, but they gave me my first layer of thick skin.

I don’t really know why I am posting this, but I guess if you find yourself asked to buy cookies or mints or popcorn, it’s okay to say ‘no’. But I hope you won’t, as the Campfire kids, Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts need your support, and there are plenty of folks out there willing to paint on that first layer of tough skin, even if you don’t.

I for one, bought 4 boxes of mints because:

A. I am chocolate pig.
B. I can say no to nobody.
C. It’s chocolate, hello.
D. Oh-chocolate, as you know, really helps with rejection

Numb Butts, Chocolate and Rejection

As far as New Year’s Resolutions go, I haven’t started yet. I haven’t posted on LJ, or exercised, and I’m sure I didn’t put ‘eat more chocolate’ on my list, but that’s exactly what I’ve done.

However, I am going blind each day, and my butt is numb from my nights, hunched over this here machine. I cherish the time after work, when the house is empty, and the nights, after the kids get to bed and hubby falls asleep in front of the TV.

I’ve found new ways to fix my story, before I send out more queries. I’m now into the 70,000 range for word count! This is very exciting–my first draft was over 110,000 words.

My daughter just experienced her first creative rejection–she auditioned for a musical at a community theatre, but didn’t get a part. She sang part of a song from Mamma Mia the Musical, read from a script, and had to play/banter with the director. All in front of about 30 people, and judges sitting at a table “American Idol” style. I was so in awe of her. She performed really well. I could never, ever, in a zillion years do anything like that, and I felt so proud of her, it made me cry 😦

Feeling that rejection with her stung more than any of the agent rejections I’ve recieved.

She got over it quick. Tears for five minutes, and the off to play the Wii.

She’s 9. πŸ™‚

Criticism

ShaNoWriMo word count: same as yesterday.  Unmotivated today.  It was nice out   (nice here means not raining) and I wanted to take a walk.  Love the crunchy leaves and smoky air.

Plus I spent time reading all the entries from Miss Snark’s Secret Agent contest.  Peeking at the comments on my entry with one eye opened and teeth clenched-yikes!  No, it wasn’t that bad, but criticism is hard, and good.  Throws me right back to art school days when each assignment we created had to be critiqued by the whole class, in front of the whole class.

It’s funny how you think of something to write, and you think you are so clear with your words, and then people don’t get it.  Oh well, I guess that’s why I should be in a critique group.  Anyway, kind of having one of those days where I feel like I need to toss the story in the trash because it must suck.  Tomorrow I’ll feel different.

Today I did get a very personal rejection that made me smile and feel hopeful.

Grrrr

Well, careful what you wish for.  Yesterday I just wished for some news.  Today i got it-two more rejections.  Grrr.  Time to send out more queries.

I feel left out, not participating in NaNoWriMo.  I just can’t commit so I decided to do my own version, and I am calling it ShanNoWriMo.  I’ll post the word count on my new WIP each time I post.

Good luck to everyone doing it!

Monday

Waiting.  So hard.  I don’t know what to do with myself.  I have gone a week now with no rejections or news of any sort.

Since it is Halloween week I expect my inbox, and my mailbox to be full of treats.  I hope everyone else’s is as well!

Apples and Optimism

Bummer, I got a big rejection today, the worst yet.  It was only on a partial, but this agent had actually called me, I’m sure to reject me.  When I told her I had rewritten what I sent, then she asked to see it.  Came back in the mail today with a "not working for me…I know you’ll make the right connection" (to another agent?).

On the upside, one of my little students (I teach kindergarten) brought me an apple the size of a newborn’s head!  She picked it this weekend in an orchard, in a town about 200 miles away from me.  The funny thing is that this town is the setting for my next story, which I FINALLY started writing today (Hey I have two pages!)

I like stuff like that.  Yes, I read a lot into things, but maybe that is optimism, I hope.