Critical Role

Well, I hate to admit it, but with all the cosplay craziness around here I’ve neglected my duties as co-admin of the charity anthology and have not been critiquing other writers’ works like I should have been. This morning (and possibly the next few) is going to be for playing catch-up.

I feel especially bad because the anthology has ground to a halt as writers await their critiques so they can move on with revisions and such. It’s not 100% my fault, but I do carry some of the blame for that.

I think part of my problem is that, in this group, critiquing seems like a never-ending process. I’ve posted so many updates to one of my pieces that I’ve lost count, even after thinking it was long since polished. I can see how that can be discouraging to the other writers, so I may have a talk with the head admin of the group about posting some positive things, like which works are “finished” and ready for publication. Perhaps that would raise morale and get things moving again.

Suppose I could write some more stuff too.

Onward towards Twenty

No, I’m not turning twenty years old. I’m long, long past that. No, I’m talking about 20,000 words on my manuscript. It’s slow going, but I broke 19,000 this morning and think I have a decent momentum.

The story rapidly evolved from straight sci-fi to sci-fi/dystopian, which works fine for me. It’s interesting to try to imagine what the world will be like in a century or two. I haven’t fully explored the possibilities yet, but I already have ideas brewing. What wildlife would survive the crap we humans are doing to the environment today? What repercussions will our actions today have on the future environment? What cities/countries will survive the passage of time and what ones will fall?

With my first book, I kept the time frame current and used Christian mythology as a base for some of what I was writing. Now? Now I have almost total autonomy. I’m not creating a new world; I’m not up to full world-building status yet. Still, it’s envisioning the future of this world, so it’s a creation of sorts. I’m creating the future. It’s unreal.

Well, of course it’s unreal. It’s a work of fiction. But you get my point.

Everyone’s a Critic…but that Doesn’t Mean You Should Listen

So I’ve taken a sidetrack from the manuscript to do some more work on the charity anthology (that is, in fact, still in the works). It made me think a bit about critiques and what they mean to a writer/artist (for the purposes of brevity, I’m going to be long-winded for a moment and say that for the rest of this post I’m going to just refer to all writers and artists as “artist”).

They say everyone’s a critic–and they’re right. No two people are going to agree 100% on the style of any piece of art, whatever the medium. But some criticisms are useful. So how do you tell which criticisms to take to heart and which ones to ignore?

In my opinion, the artist is the ultimate decision maker on their art, regardless of what others say. As an artist, you are the creator. You are God. But even a god can make mistakes, and therein lies the rub. You have to be open to acknowledging those mistakes and making changes based on the critiques you receive.

Take your time when giving and receiving critiques. As a critic, try to put yourself in the mindset of the artist. What are they trying to say? Is that sentence fragment on purpose? Is that swipe of the brush an accident or a happy little tree? As an artist, think long and hard about what the critic is saying. Do you really need to rephrase that fragment? Should you make that brush stroke into a happy little tree?

It’s all subjective, of course. Well, not grammar…that’s objective. Except when it’s subjective. Savvy?

Critiques are that simple, and they’re that complex.

Workin’ Hard for the Money

Well, I made it through a long, tiring work day. My back is sore, my legs are sore, my arms are sore … in fact, not too many places on me aren’t sore. Still, I made it through, and I got rare praise from the surgeon.

Tomorrow is an off day, and though it’s my anniversary (yay!–three years strong), my husband will be working until 1pm, giving me plenty of time to write. I also plan on writing some more tonight. If I keep it up, I’ll break 20k before the weekend. Pretty amazing, considering the first draft of Whispers of Death was not even 40k words long, and this book is in its infancy still.

I probably should exercise tomorrow, too. I have got to get back into exercising. Just because work gave me a workout today is no excuse to not get back into the swing of things exercise-wise. I have the day off, my husband will be occupied with work, and I can try one of the workout DVDs I have in the living room while he works from the bedroom. I get so self-conscious when anyone sees me working out, even my husband, so this should be interesting … he’d better not laugh. 😉

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Thank the Gods for the “Find” feature in Word.

So, let me give you some backstory here: Every Wednesday, Twitter has a trending hashtag called #1linewed where there is a theme set and writers can post a line or two from one of their works that fits that theme. For example, today’s theme is “eyebrows.”

Dear Gods, I never realized how many times people raised their eyebrows in my current manuscript!

Being the obsessive-compulsive person that I am, I can’t just let it go until it comes time for edits and whatnot. I have to fix it now. That has been the majority of my writing this morning–taking out a multitude of eyebrow raising and finding other ways for the characters to express emotion.

It happens. Writers get their little quirks or favorite phrases and they don’t even realize until revision/edits that they’re doing it. Well, apparently I’m an eyebrow-raiser. I don’t remember doing it in my last novel, but I think I’m trying too hard to “show don’t tell.” I know there are other facial expressions/body language-type things I can use, but I guess my go-to is the eyebrows.

I suppose I should thank whoever picked today’s theme. Now I can go through and fix this before it gets out of hand, and be wary of it as I write further.


I thought it would be fun to write for another website. More articles to write, more entertainment news to cover. I’m quickly realizing, however, that this new website is nothing about actual article writing. All they’re after is website clicks, and they don’t even want any original material. That’s right–I’ve become one of those click-bait writers. So demeaning.

It’s hellishly mind-numbing. Take one of the articles they select for you to source from, paraphrase/quote, source, photo credit, tag it, bag it, post, and repeat. Nothing even newsworthy, because it’s all information that other websites have already covered. No interviews, no original reviews, nothing thought-provoking. Just regurgitated information.

I hate to quit anything, but this new site just isn’t working out for me. I’m creatively stifled. There is nothing inventive, nothing entertaining, nothing worthwhile to what I am doing. At least with Talk Nerdy With Us there’s more freedom, more creativity. If I come up with a great idea for a post, I’m free to write it. I don’t have to copy other websites, which frankly makes me feel like a plagiarist (despite the fact that with this new site we credit all of our sources).

Talk Nerdy With Us is an amazing family. This other site? Nope. They’re just about the number of website views and interactions. I’ve not even been writing for them a week and I’m already over it. Give me my Talk Nerdy With Us. Give me my freedom. Give me my originality.

Give me liberty or gtfo.

Night and Day

Writing for this new website is definitely different from writing for Talk Nerdy With Us. TNWU has a more family feel, with more relaxed rules for posting. The new site? Rules, rules, rules.

Which is not necessarily a bad thing. Naming sources is important, as is giving photo credit where credit is due. Grammar and punctuation are also important; you must present a professional face when creating a professional site.

I’ll admit that I haven’t read all of the posts on either site; I simply don’t have the time! (Both are very prolific sites.) However, in excerpts from TNWU I have noticed some grammatical errors that could easily have been avoided. Sure, there’s longer content and more original thought, but without the foundation of proper grammar some of the articles may turn out seeming unprofessional and more bloggy than the news posts on the new site.

Switching styles between sites can be jarring, but I can do it. I just need to remember to keep to all the rules of the new site.

Busy little bee

As if I hadn’t gotten myself involved in enough projects lately, I just signed on to start writing for another entertainment/geek website (in addition to Talk Nerdy With Us). It’ll make me busy, but also will give me something to do in the mornings when I can’t focus on writing my WIP.

This one has a little different structure than Talk Nerdy With Us, and the goal is different so I don’t think there will be any conflict of interest. The Cosplay Closet Essentials will still be a completely Talk Nerdy With Us thing, and I can just write short articles on the side for GeekFeed. Win-win.

Also, the team on GeekFeed has a lot of people in England, so they’re more active when I’m up early in the morning. That will be nice (seeing as how I get up ridiculously early and usually have few people to talk to), and now I can have an excuse to be up at 0300 😉

I’m excited to expand my writing opportunities, and I’m glad I answered the call for writers. Onward and upward 🙂

Little Red Dress

Rosalinda twirled in front of the mirror, reveling in the beauty of her new dress. The light glistened off of it, sparkling like rubies.

A lot of work went into that dress. Rosalinda made it herself; the materials alone were worth an immeasurable amount. No monetary price could be put on her work of art. It was the culmination of five years of searching for just the right fabric, from just the right source.

Following the curves of her body like a second skin, the dress was the epitome of comfort. She felt no seams, and the weight was perfection: heavy enough to be comforting, but light enough to allow total freedom of movement.

Rosalinda turned to her date for the night and said, “Well, Francisco, what do you think?”

His head lolled at an angle and his mouth hung wide open. A grin split his face from ear to ear. Francisco had never seen such a beautiful dress.

And he never would see it. His dead eyes stared at the little red dress made from his blood.

Rosalinda had made the perfect little red dress … Such a shame that it would be dry, brown, and flaking in a matter of hours.

Ooh, shiny….

Yeah, I know. I should be writing. Not writing a blog, but writing-writing. Today has been one of those distraction-filled days, where Facebook and Twitter and Google Play and staring into space (and this blog, I guess) all keep me from making any progress on my work-in-progress.

Okay, so maybe I made a little progress. Regressive progress. I did some more work on strengthening my main character, but in order to do so I took out a few hundred words. Granted, the words I took out weren’t necessary anymore (and not really necessary to begin with, I found out), but it’s still a step backwards.

Maybe this weekend I’ll get more done. Or at least Saturday. Sunday I need to get back cracking at finishing up the minor final details on our cosplays. That’s another thing I keep getting distracted away from.

At least the commission art project I spent so much time on is done. It was fun, but it’s a weight off my shoulders to have it completed. One less distraction.

Tonight will be a live tweet of the 100th episode of Grimm for Talk Nerdy With Us. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve live tweeted because I’ve been caught up in stupid adulting, but I think tonight I’m going to take some time to focus on the show and getting a good live tweet done. It’ll be good practice for getting back in the swing of live tweeting, because next week I’m back on Pacific time so I can tweet alongside the people who are watching the West coast feed (so few people live tweet during the Mountain time zone! No one interacting, which makes it less fun).

Aaaaand I got distracted. Again. Well, since it’s almost time to go to work I guess I’ll leave my poor neglected WIP off to the side for a while. Until the morrow!