Editing Series | Chapter 24 Critique Group Comments

What did my critique group have to say about my editing of Chapter 24?

Quite a lot, actually. Click the video below to learn more.

This just goes to show how blinded an author can be to the limitations of their own work, even when they identify and acknowledge issues and try to fix them.

Our greatest challenge is translating what we see in our head to the page, and I’ve found that it’s almost impossible to know if I’ve succeeded in doing that completely unless another person (preferably more than one) reads and critiques it.

Having a critique group to provide insight and feedback is such a great tool and it’s really helped me craft the best version of my story, and it’s what is going to make all the difference in getting this manuscript published.

If you enjoyed this video, please follow my blog and subscribe to my youtube channel, and I’ll see you in a future video!

If this series is helpful for you and you want to learn more about how I can help you polish your novel:

-Check out my writing services

-Follow me on twitter

Happy Writing!

MJ

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Editing Series | Chapter 24

The second video of my Editing Series is live!

Chapter 24 is a first draft that I haven’t read since I finished writing it during NaNo 2020. This short video describes the main issues I encountered during editing.

If you want to skip to a helpful writing tip, you can jump to 2:18. 🙂

I will be posting a post-critique group video on this same chapter in the future to let you all know what they had to say about it. I’m anxious to learn what my first round of editing missed that they are able to catch. I’m so grateful to my critique group, they truly are an amazing group of writers and are such an incredible resource for me.

If you enjoyed this video, please like and subscribe and I’ll see you in a future video!

If this series is helpful for you and you want to learn more about how I can help you polish your novel:

-Check out my writing services

-Follow me on twitter

Happy Writing!

MJ

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Monthly Writing Prompt | December 2021

Your chest constricts. Exhaustion overwhelms you to the point where you’re not sure you’ll ever get up again. To be here…you never thought you would be here. You wondered. Theorized. But never truly believed it. This changes things forever.

***Muse Stimulators***

  • What has just happened?
  • Was the experience good or bad?
  • Is “here” a real place or a metaphorical one?
  • What happens next?
  • Is there anyone else there?

Happy Writing!

~MJ

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Why You Shouldn’t Let Readers Read Your First Draft

“Hey, you like reading books, do you want to read mine?”

This might be the worst question you ever want to ask someone as a writer.

Why?

Because readers are expecting your book to be the same quality that they are used to reading. They’re expecting a fully polished manuscript: publish ready, grammar and spelling error-free, edited, streamlined, underwritten, overwritten, a killer cover. You get the picture.

So the reason why “Aunt Sal” hasn’t gotten back to you about your book is probably because, to be brutally honest, she thinks it sucks and doesn’t want to hurt your feelings.

And it probably does suck according to her standards of read-worthy manuscripts.

And on the opposite end, for those people who actually read it and are honest with you about it, it can be very hurtful to hear that the book you have poured blood, sweat, tears, and a ton of time and soul into is “boring” or “slow” or “full of spelling errors” or “I didn’t really connect with the characters” or something similar.

Trust me, I’ve been there, experienced both of these scenarios and a bunch in between too. And I’m hear to tell you:

Your manuscript doesn’t suck.

It’s just not finished yet. You have the bones, some of the vital organs, but the flesh is still inside your head, and you need to get that onto the page, because that’s what’s keeping your readers from experiencing your book the way you want them to. The way you experience it in your head.

“Well. Who do I get to read it then?”

Find a Writer.

Writers appreciate the writing process. They know what a draft looks like. More important, they know what a draft is missing.

Writers can pinpoint exactly where you need to beef it up to make it readable. They’re not looking at your manuscript as publish ready, they’re looking at it as a work in progress, and this is the most helpful perspective one can have when reading your draft.

Writers are not shocked or offended by grammar errors, plot holes, or character inconsistencies, but they are honed into them and can spot them so you can fix them. Sometimes, writers can have great suggestions on how you can rework these problem areas to make your manuscript really shine.

So, when you have “completed” your novel and you’re feeling super accomplished and wildly excited to share your masterpiece, don’t give it to a “reader” to read. Or a family member. Their feedback is unreliable, probably less than honest, they might not read it at all, and they don’t understand how to tell you constructively where your manuscript needs more polish.

Find a writer. A critique group. A freelance editor. Or a designated beta reader (they are also not expecting perfection). Each of these options vary in price from free to well over several grand, with different benefits and setbacks to each one. All of them are far more beneficial than Aunt Sal and will offer you much needed constructive feedback.

Happy Writing!

~MJ

Who is the most beneficial person to read your first draft?
#WritingTip #Writing #WritingCommunity #AmWriting

Monthly Writing Prompt – November 2021

You stare out at the world around you. Fifty years ago, the landscape looked much different, felt different. You recall a conversation you had with someone yesterday about it, and if you look closely, you can still see traces of the world that once was. You think about what has changed, the decisions that led to this, and wonder. Was it worth it?

**Muse Stimulators**

-What year is it?
-Was the character alive fifty years ago?
-What has changed?
-What does the landscape look like now?
-Colors? Sounds? Smells?
-How does the character feel?
-Is this earth or another planet?

Happy Writing!

~MJ

#writingprompt #writing #writingcommunity

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NaNoWriMo 2021!

Ready for an exhausting month? Day 1 begins today!

NaNoWriMo is a special time of year for writers. Daily word counts at least 1700 words! Hours devoted just to writing! Sound like a writers paradise?

It usually doesn’t quite go down that way.

NaNoWriMo can be a very rewarding time of the year for writers. The writing community is always super energized, and truly motivating and inspiring for me. It is why I formed Augusta Writer’s Critique Group and why I have chosen to devote more of my time and energy to writing and writers.

Although you will find many friends and colleagues in the writing community to cheer you on, family members and friends who don’t write may not understand why you’re suddenly not responding to their texts, passing on grabbing coffee or lunch, or shutting yourself up in a room all by yourself at night. So I recommend letting family and friends know that you’re going to be prioritizing your writing this month if you are planning to participate.

There may be some people who say that if you’re not officially signed up on the NaNoWriMo website and planning to write a new novel that you’re not really participating, or you’re not participating “correctly”.

Ignore those people.

NaNoWriMo is about prioritizing your writing to achieve the goals that have been on your “if I just had a month to myself” list for the last year (or longer). I cannot reiterate enough that just making time every day, even 10 minutes, is imbuing the spirit of NaNoWriMo.

So whether you’re a beginner writer wanting to start a new novel for the first time, a seasoned NaNo’er with a detailed plan and a library of lessons learned to help keep you on track, or if you’re like me, and you’re planning to edit the novel you wrote last year; NaNoWriMo is that time of the year where you can find someone to embark on this journey with you, and together create something truly magical.

Everyday for the month of November, I will be live streaming from my youtube channel for 10 minutes. I would love for you to share your writing journey with me in the comments everyday, and join me in devoting 10 minutes a day to writing. Check out my video below for more information.

Happy Writing!

~MJ

#NaNoWriMo #NaNoWriMo2021 #Writing #WritingCommunity

Media Writing Prompt | October 2021

What if you found an ancient sword in the middle of a lake? Watch this clip below:

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-45763186

Now write a story or poem inspired by this clip. Let your creativity take you wherever it will or keep reading for muse stimulators if you would like suggestions.

Muse Stimulators:

  • Who was the original owner?
  • How did the sword get there?
  • Is the sword cursed or magical?
  • What is unique about this sword?

Happy Writing!

~MJ

#writingprompt #historyprompt #mediaprompt #writing

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Monthly Writing Prompt – October 2021!

The edge of the platform begins at the tip of your toes. You stare down into a seemingly endless abyss. There’s a roaring sound in your ears. Goosebumps raise on your arms, and your heart races faster and faster. This is it. This is the moment. This is the moment your life changes forever.

**Muse Stimulators**

-What is the platform you’re standing on?
-Where is it?
-What is in the abyss?
-What is the roaring sound?
-Is there anyone else there?
-Is this a literal scene or a metaphorical one?
-What happens next?

Happy Writing!

~MJ

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Word Prompt | September 2021

Stimulate your Muse with this one-word prompt!

I recommend going somewhere quiet with your laptop or pen and paper and thinking about this word for at least 3 minutes.

Ambition

What images come to mind?

What emotions?

What memories?

What desires?

Now write.

Happy Writing!

~MJ

Monthly Writing Prompt – September 2021

What a better way to begin a new month than with a writing prompt? I hope you enjoy this one!

A song is playing. The rhythm tingles into your limbs, stirring emotions deep within. A memory springs up, a painful one. It weaves its way from a blurry whisper into a vivid imagining that feels so real you are transported back in time. Colors, smells, sounds, sensation. You wish the music would stop. 

***Muse Stimulators***

  • What song is playing?
  • What is painful about the memory?
    • Something that happened to the POV?
    • To someone else?
    • Something the POV did that they regret?
    • Something they lost?
  • What are the feelings the POV is experiencing?
  • What is the memory?
  • What does the POV choose to do next?

Happy Writing!

~MJ

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