One of the things I love about having a writer’s critique group is the learning opportunities it provides. I learn by reading the work of my CPs, through them critiquing my work, and through critiquing them. I’ll be the first to admit some of the things they suggest to help me strengthen my work are things I already know. Every now and then I’ll let a passive sentence slip by when it can easily be converted to an active one. Sometimes, I don’t dig deep enough because writing can feel like frothing egg whites by hand. It takes concentration, dedication, and by the end you ache from the effort.
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During a recent review of my current WIP Dark Intent, an adult paranormal romance, one of my CPs busted me on this very thing. My main character has a severe fear of the dark. I established my MC’s distress by showing her emotional/physical reaction to darkness. After watching her internal struggles for a while and not understanding the root cause, her responses lost impact. To avoid ‘info dumping’, the source of her terror must come out in bits and pieces.
The ground work for this was already there, I just didn’t dig deep enough. My CP helped me see how I could use the existing framework to strengthen my story. She recommended I go back to all those places where my MC attempts to confront her fear and reveal snippets of the inciting incident of her anxiety. Nothing major, just incomplete glimpses because in the dark, its often the thing we can’t fully see which scares us the most. It took my story from ‘can relate’ to ‘now I have goosebumps’.
Have you come across something similar in your writing/revising/editing process? Do you have any tips on slow reveals? Do you have character(s) coping with phobia?
Writing a query is tough. Taking a 60,000+ word document and boiling it down to two to three paragraphs is a daunting task. I went through six editing rounds (though, fights feels like a more befitting word) with the query letter for my YA paranormal romance, EDGE OF TRUTH. Then, I took it to my critique group where it underwent another three rounds.
Meanwhile, I researched agents I learned about through WritersDigest.com and other sources. Then, logged into QueryTracker.net, an awesome and FREE database of literary agents, and started making a list of those I’d like to query. After visiting websites to make sure I had the most up-to-date info on what they want, I decided it was time to start submitting.
I prepped that first email, pasted the query in the body along with the synopsis (don’t get me started on that) and the first ten pages. My mouse hovered over the SEND button…one click away…and I lifted my finger. I couldn’t bring myself to click SEND for fear of a typo somewhere. So I read through everything again, found nothing, and ran out of excuses. Now, I can say I have queries on the loose.
Why is hitting SEND so scary? Does your finger gain ten pounds before you click send? How do you muster up the courage to submit your query?