On Writing & Publishing by Robin D. Owens

Personal notes on writing techniques, writing a novel, my writing career and threading your way through publishing a book.

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Location: Denver, United States

RITA Award Winning Author -- that's like the Oscar, folks! Futuristic/Fantasy Romance and Fantasy with Romantic Subplots.

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Late -- Critique Group

Yes, very late today. Just returned from my in-person critique group, to which I took my synopsis (shudder) for the 4th Luna book. I was massacred.

And, I "heard" THIS IS TERRIBLE. When actually, everyone was saying HERE'S HOW YOU CAN MAKE IT BETTER.

You have to laugh at yourself, 'cause that's how some folks do critique group, make jokes, and most of the time I managed, but a couple of times I was hurt, so that's MY problem and next time I'm too thin skinned, I'm going to have to let those who tromped on my delicate feelings know. Whew, what a sentence! And since that, too, sounded hurt and/or whiney, I guess despite the end of group and reassurances that I could send out the synopsis the way it is and still sell the book, I'm still brooding on comments I can't quite recall.

And I probably stepped on some toes, too. So if anyone was keeping score (which we don't, I don't), all should be even.

As you can see, there are several issues I'm talking about here:

1) Critique group is for constructive comments, and my group gave me a slew of that. Janet Lane, the fearsome plot dissector, wasn't there so I was both spared major surgery and denied the benefit of her excellent advice.

2) You have to grow a skin. If you can't take what your critique buddies dish out (talking about a good, constructive group like mine), you aren't going to be able to work with agents or editors, let alone handle reviewers.

3) If someone hurts your feelings during group, it's up to you to let them know. At one point, I DID say, "I need reassurance here" and thus the comment that I could send it in as is. Which I won't. I'll do my best to fix, won't meet my own standards doing that, but off it will go.

4) There are things that some want "fixed" that I can't or won't do for various reasons: it doesn't fit in with the vision I have of the book; it duplicates what I've done in the previous 3 books; it contradicts something that I've done in the previous three books.

5) There may be people who just don't "get it," can't buy into my fantasy world, or don't know the genre I'm writing in. Most of my group REALLY didn't get the urban fantasy I sprung upon them in May. One of my members has since read Laurell K. Hamilton and said that my urban fantasy has the tone of her writing (dark). Well, she didn't know that at the time, but I did. So.

All in all, it was an excellent critique and, again, I'll do my best to fix the $%^$^(&(&(^%$#_%$ synopsis, but it won't hang together or read as smoothly as I like, especially since I want it out no later than Monday, and I need to finish two (shorter) ones also, and buff the pages, and change them because of the synopsis... Another hideous sentence. Guess I should end now.

Except for one more thing. I am sure as the sun rises tomorrow that whatever synopsis I turn in, I will get revisions on the story. It's how this publishing company works. So I'll send in my best and see what happens. Hopefully a 3 book deal. If so, that will have been worth it. Whew.

May your next synopsis fall right into place.


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