Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Aw, Rats!

Wouldn't you know it? I destroyed the story by taking out all the conflict when I pulled them apart to make two. One of my online critique group friends confirmed what I feared. I think I like having three groups of critiquers! I'm on a roll now.

Have you seen this Horn Book article celebrating Kevin Henkes? It brought tears to my eyes. We just love his books at our house!


At 4:49 AM, Blogger Heather said...

Didn't KEvin Henkes write Owen

Owen loves that story...wonder why?

At 6:29 AM, Blogger Don Tate II said...

Question: Do you share your manuscripts over the internet through your critique groups? Just curious, Im considering joining one.

At 8:15 AM, Blogger Kim said...

Don, I have an online critique group that is a Yahoo Group. We started out really strong, but it's been pretty inactive lately (with the exception of two very thoughtful critiques I received yesterday!). I also belong to a local SCBWI critique group. And, I have a friend who started a summer writing group. That one isn't specifically for critiques; I just lucked out yesterday. We had planned to do critiques.

I think you should join a group. I enjoy my online group, and if that's the only option, I highly recommend it. But, the real, life feedback is great. I like the interaction we have in real life and the way our group brainstorms ideas that ultimately make the story stronger.(And, I learn a lot watching the group critique the work of others too) The first time is a little scary, but you get used to it!

At 9:30 AM, Blogger Kim said...


Also, have you thought about taking Anastasia's Picture Book Workshop? She has one coming up in August and one in October. August is already too hectic for me, but I'm considering taking the October class.

At 12:57 PM, Blogger Susan Taylor Brown said...

So what I want to know is are you going to keep them as two different stories and find new conflicts or put them back together again? Conflict is the toughest thing for me. All the books and teachers and editors say to put your character in danger, mess with his head, unbalance his world and I end up with nice kids who carry groceries for little old ladies, do their homework on time, and never talk back to their parents. I gotta do something about that. My current WIP is from the POV of a 16 year old boy and I have to get rid of the goody two shoes attitude and make him real. When I can do that, I think the conflict feeds itself.

And Don, ditto what Kim said. Find a group. I miss the face-to-face group I had when my kids were little and we would meet at each other's houses. Can't do that with working fulltime. But I have a fabulous online group of 4 people and we share everything. I can't imagine writing without them.

At 1:23 PM, Blogger Kim said...

Susan, I'm going to keep them as two stories and find new conflicts. I'm pretty sure man (kid) vs nature is a conflict, but no one else is seeing it that way :-( But, since I've been handed lots of potential conflicts, I think I'll work a few in. This, we call my EGG story, which will be more artsy/science based.

The LEMONADE story is going to be a story about sisters, maybe about name calling or sibling rivalry. Still working on where that conflict should take me. My girls have been calling eachother names like "Peanut head" or "76" (any random word or number) just the fact that they DECIDED it's a "bad" word makes it offensive to them. I'm sure there's a story there somewhere.

At 3:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kim, just a couple of thoughts about critique groups. I have belonged to the same, quite large, F2F critique group for over twelve years. Sometimes I get brilliant critiques and sometimes the advice is not that helpful. What I've decided is that I almost never make a change based on what ONE person has said. It's just one reader's opinion and we all know how varied that can be (heck, I hated this year's Booker-Prize winner, so obviously mileage varies, right?) However, if a comment keeps coming up, if three or four or more people see the same problem in a piece, then I'll revisit it. The other thing that is likely to make me change something is if a critique resonates with something I already know, deep down, but haven't wanted to admit (like when you know there's a problem with the story but changing it will kill off your favourite character, so you avoid doing it). If someone else spots the same problem that I"ve been in denial about, I know I need to pay attention.

Loving your blog!


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