Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Critique Process

Writer’s Critiquing
For several weeks I have been critiquing other writer’s manuscripts. I have broken my critiquing style into a neat and easy process and I am here to share with you my dummy proof process.

1.       Formatting Issues- First and foremost, by using the track changes/balloon revision software in Microsoft word…I highlight the whole manuscript and put it in Times New Roman, Size 12 font. Anything other font is unacceptable and distracting.

2.       In the first few paragraphs, if I feel no connection with the M.C. or there is literally, no conflict…then I leave a comment out to the side asking the writer WTF were they thinking but in a more tactful sense.

3.       That is when I intertwine any grammar, tense, and spelling issues into the manuscript.  And anything that I find that is confusing or inaccurate.

4.       WORDINESS- If you are trying to tell me something, but the way you explain it is confusing and it pretty much sounds repetitive, then I am going to shoot you down.

 He was crazy and I’d had enough. Angry and now very tired, I tried to break free, but he clinched his hands tightly around me. He was playing games and I didn’t find it funny at all.

                The writer just said the same thing in three different sentences. We understand that he or she is aggravated with this guy…so say it using less words…less is more.

                He was crazy and I was tired of playing his games, but he clinched his hands tightly around me.

5.       Dialogue Tags- I get so aggravated when I see unnecessary dialogue tags…I use to do the same thing but quickly realized that this is the Achilles heel of all writer’s. When is it proper to use dialogue tags? How often should you use them?  I.E.

“I’m mad at you,” Jodi said.

“It’s your fault,” Kyle said.

“No, it isn’t,” Jodi replied.

“Yes, it is,” Kyle responded.

     This is so annoying. When two people are responding back in forth in a dialogue, you only need to establish the person speaking, once.

“I’m mad at you,” Jodi said.

“It’s your fault,” Kyle said.

“No, it isn’t.”

“Yes, it is.”

Now, if there are three or more, that can be confusing. But it’s important to identify the speakers and make sure that the dialogue flows and that you begin each person’s dialogue with a new paragraph.

6.       Not using enough description or using too much- using too much description can take away from your story, remember less is more unless you are describing something specifically for a reason via it has an importance later. Not using enough, I once started reading a fantasy manuscript and I couldn’t wrap my head around this fantasy location. If I am reading a fantasy YA manuscript, I need someone to describe it to me, I should be able to smell, hear, taste, and feel where I am reading about.

7.       Flow- How does your manuscript flow? Too fast? Too slow? Just right? After attending a writer’s conference, I learned that in the first two pages of your manuscript you need to have conflict, the first five pages another conflict, the first ten pages another conflict. Conflict is what moves your story at a steady pace. If your story is lacking conflict, then it will drag along for the reader. If it doesn’t then it should be exciting and awesome.

8.       At the end, of this critique—If I don’t feel connected to your plot, or if it is too heavy on dialogue, lacking dialogue, lacking description or I don’t hear the voice of your M.C. in my head, then you have an issue and I will clearly tell you what is wrong and the reason for my disconnection.

I’m sure I am missing something, but it seems like I got everything covered. I hope you all enjoy!

Monday, January 9, 2012


I’ve joined a new website called Authonomy…it is awesome. My username is geogstacey and Jenn’s is JenniferNichols. Look us up, read our books, add our books to your watch lists, put our books on your bookshelves and leave us comments about our books.

For more information:

Want to read great books? Here you’ll find the readers and writers who are climbing the ranks of our talent spotter chart – they’ll know a thing or two. Or use the community’s book reviews as a guide. See who’s written the most book reviews. Looking for new books? Discover who are the latest authors and read new books online.

You don’t need to be a member to browse the site and read books online, but joining is very easy and completely free, so what are you waiting for? Register now. By becoming a member of the authonomy writing community you’ll be able to comment on books you find here, talk to the authors, get writing tips and share advice. If you’re looking to get published or just self-publish, authonomy is a great place to improve your writing, find a literary agent or even get a publishing contract. You can submit your manuscript to the site and showcase your work to the community and the world.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Writer's Conferences and the Critiquing World!

The critiquing world begins. I’ve been diving into critiques for other writers, so they will critique my work while Jennifer has been in cahoots with Age of Eden edits. She is working on our newest query letter. Thank God, she isn’t leaving it up to me.

I find myself wondering, what in the heck do these literary agents want? What are they looking for? I know it is all subjective and about the right time, place, etc. But dang, I’m not getting any younger, neither is Jennifer. Seriously though, we have been head over heals in editing, critiquing, and writing It’s all very exhausting. I wish I could snap my fingers and everything could be done, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. I hope it gets pretty soon, though.

I’ve been spending time rewriting my Reapers book: The First 22. I’m having to change a few things around but luckily I only have 25,000 more to go, lol.

Better get back to this so called life. TTYL friends. And if you haven’t already looking into this years writer’s conferences, you should do so.

Friday, April 20th is the Southern Kentucky Writer’s Conference, FREE of charge!

2012 Midsouth Fall Conference

September 14-16, 2012

Hilton Garden Inn – Vanderbilt

Nashville, TN

- Pre-Conference Intensives offered on Friday

- Pitch Sessions with Sarah Davies (Greenhouse Literary)

- Face-to-Face or Written-Only Critiques                                                                                                                      

- Fiction Manuscript Contest in 3 Categories: PB, MG, YA

- Illustrator Contest

2012 Midsouth Fall Conference Faculty Includes:

Tracy Barrett - Award-winning author

Sarah Davies – Agent, Greenhouse Literary

Stephen Fraser – Agent, Jennifer Di Chiara Literary

George Ella Lyon – Award-winning author

Martha Mihalick – Editor, Greenwillow Books

Martha Rago – Art director, HarperCollins

Liz Szabla – Editor-in-Chief, Feiwel and Friends

Kristin Tubb – Award-winning author

Stay tuned for more faculty announcements!

Monday, January 2, 2012

HELLO 2012!!!!!!!

Happy 2012, the year said to be the END of the WORLD.

Until then, you will find me typing on my laptop and starving myself to death, in hopes of losing weight to complete my new year’s resolution. How depressing, I know. But, this year, I am focusing on me. Getting my mind, body, and soul back into shape. Starting with a rigorous exercise and diet, I’m going to start doing things for me…usually I make writing my secondary job, and this year I vow to make it just as important as my primary job.

That includes, BLOGGING. Yes, my friends, I am thoroughly excited and hope that I can stay on this motivated path that I have veered off of so many times in the past. But enough about that, I’m working on several of my old novels…I’m going to try to complete thoughts before I get tempted to do another SNN. Several great ideas are floating around in my brain waiting to be delivered to the world. I can’t wait. Now, I have to update my co-pilot, Jennifer, get her on board with my ideas, and then we can WAM BAM Thank you MAM, these awesome ideas.

I started a new critique group accumulated of several SCBWI members, for a YA/MG fiction. I’m super excited as they will be critiquing the first 5k words of Age of Eden; The Key. That starts on Sunday. I’m psyched. Other than that, I hope everyone had a great holiday but I’m ready to dive into my books and do what I love most, write.