My Critique is IN!!

I won a three page critique from the "Trilogy" contest held a few weeks ago. Marieke along with Rach and Tessa put this amazing give away together. I was lucky enough to win one of the prizes and Marieke was the one to do my critique. I was thrilled when I won but agonized over the prize. I'm not going to lie to you. I didn't want ANYONE to read my stuff. Especially since this is straight from my head to the paper. No revisions. I'm new and I know I have a long way to go. I asked her to rip it to shreds and although she was thorough, she did it in a way that encouraged me.

Back to the newbie part. One of the problems I've found with being new is not having anything to compare your work too. No one wants to show their beginner ramblings and who can blame them. But inexperienced writers need to see that. We need to know that every great writer started off with crap too. I'm crossing my fingers they did anyway. I thought how could I turn this into something we could all benefit from. Maybe I could pay it forward. Maybe I could show everyone....

I *gulp* plan to post my critique *with Marieke's blessing* for all to read. I know what some are you are saying. "Is she crazy? Off her meds? Too many meds? " No, not at all. Although the tequila bottle is looking empty.

Marieke's crit was insightful and eye opening . She has many helpful suggestions and ideas. More importantly, she came across as a fellow writer who genuinely wants me to succeed. This is not something you find outside of the writing community. Any other industry is a cut throat business but here you always have someone willing to help you out.

I'm going to post in a three part series over the next week or so. I'll have snippets in my post and the entire three page critique on a page located at the top of my blog. This is for any new writer who needs something to compare their own work too or any experienced writer who might be over looking something. I hope by baring something very dear and near to me I can help another fellow writer.

Thank you Marieke.

Here's the first snippet and a short description.

Resurrection is a YA fantasy. Olivia is the girl next door with everything going her way. Life's perfect until she has to trust two dangerous strangers. A demon with his own agenda and an angel who lies.


Dropping my toothbrush I felt my face flame up. "What did you say? Oh my God Emma what did you do?"

Giggling and handing me a towel she didn't even look ashamed. "Your welcome. He said he wanted to ask you to the dance. "

Tighten the dialogue :)

Try to prevent "-ing" verbs as much as
possible. They're not too bad if you use them sparsely, but they get
annoying if you use them a lot. It is a lot like "and then this
happened and then this and then this."

Tightening my dialogue is something that I will struggle with. It sounds good in my head (even with all the voices) but when you get it on paper it's too much.

How do you tighten your dialogue and do you struggle with this?


  1. Wow! I'm amazed at your bravery. I don't think I could do that.

    But to answer your question, I normally break rules with actual dialogue: incomplete sentences, starting mid-thought, etc. And a must for me is the use of contractions. Unless, unless, unless, I have a character that refuses to use them. Which is the case sometimes.

    Tags are trickier though. But less is more as far as they go(did not intend for that to rhyme). But often times what/how your characters talk(urgent, flustered,short) amplifies and makes clearer any action they do before they speak.

    Confusing much?

  2. No not confusing at all. That was very helpful. I think I may be crazy but I hope this might help some too shy to speak up. I've never claimed to be anythihg other than a new writer with a lot to learn and maybe my openness will help someone. Or I'll be laughed right off the blog-o-shpere. :)

  3. I have fantastic critique partners that point out my issues (they do it in a very constructive way) and then I sit down and go to work. My first draft always has it's problems (it's a first draft and that's okay), but when it comes to the editing process I do a line by line edit--fixing ing words where I can, choosing better verbs, remembering to use my five senses, and so on. Editing can be tedious, BUT I love pushing myself to create a MS worthy of submiting.

  4. Hi, Lisa, you brave, brave lady! I'm a crusader and found your site from Rach's list. I do understand the fear, but critiques only make up better. I'm am member of the Compuserve Books and Writers Forum. We regularly critique each other and do exercises together. I love it! See you around the Crusade

  5. Hello, fellow Crusader. I've been writing for a couple of years and applaud your bravery. I too, put myself out there and it has paid off. Good luck! I'm a follower now. :)

  6. Yay! You survived your first critique. Kudos for you to be willing to post it! That's awesome. I've been reading a bit about dialogue and Subtext (that's a creepy word).

    I've heard people say to read it to yourself and your ear will catch what's not right. I've tried it and it works! Now I talk to myself when I'm doing dialogue. I'm sure the dogs think I'm nuts. Beloved Husband already knows this, so he doesn't question.

    I got a comment in my 500 word critique on my ING words to. I've got a ton of them.

    Can't wait to see more!

  7. Hi, fellow crusader!

    I think it's great you're willing to post the critique you got. Receiving and getting critiques are helpful, but it's also helpful to read what other people think about things. I've caught a lot of errors in my own writing by hearing what other people have to say about their writing or someone else's writing, not just my own.

    And, yeah, I have a problem with those ING words. I try to be more careful, and I agree with Kari Marie, reading it out loud can help too.

  8. Oh, what a nice prize! And it's true writers are a different sort. I think it's because it doesn't hurt ANY of us to have ANOTHER writer improve--the ideas for the most part are looked at for their own merit because even the same idea, in the hands of two different authors, comes out really different.

    My recommendation for tightening dialog? Read it out loud. Even if it is really how we talk, heard as book dialog, you will notice things that are 'too much' or too rambling.

  9. Angela,
    Great crit partners are a must in this business I think. Welcome and I stopped by your blog too. See ya around.

    Zan Marie,
    Love your name. I'm slowly getting to all the crusaders blogs. There are so many (woot) it's taking longer than I thought but that's a good thing. See ya around.

    Hey Kars,
    I forsee a problem with my ING words. Darn it. Putting that one down as #1 to look for.

    Thanks for the advice. This is exactly what I was hoping for. More writers willing to say what they know they do wrong and what helps them. Thanks so much.

    I went to your blog and because I'm crazy couldn't figure out how to follow you. I'm going back again but if you see this would you let me know where to look. Thanks

    It was a great prize and so helpful. I love this community and it's open arms.

  10. Y'know what LA? Good For You!!! I think it's a fabulous idea to post your critiques and your WIP to show everyone that it doesn't (though we would love it too) come from our brain straight to the paper in brilliant, beautiful prose!
    I'm following, I want to see how this goes for you and we all need encouragement...and sometimes a kick in the pants!
    Thanks for stopping by!!

  11. Greetings fellow crusader! i'm a new writer too and commend your bravery at having an early critique out there - however it teaches EVERYONE something! Thank you. Looking forward to knowing you better on the crusade.

  12. Hello fellow crusader! I'm a new follower. Here's how I'd tighten it up:

    Dropping my toothbrush, my face flamed up. "Oh my God Emma what did you do?"

    Giggling, Emma handed me a towel. "You're welcome. He's gonna ask you to the dance."

  13. WOOPS---I posted that under another comment haha.

    I'm really not sure what tightening dialogue means in this case. I'd have to read the rest of the excerpt. Does it move your story forward? Or does it feel like it's just thrown in? Does it give away something MAJOR about the character...or is it one of those things the reader doesn't REALLY have to know?

    BTW that is an AWESOME prize that you won. And don't worry about not getting any revisions in ahead of time...honestly, think of how much you'll learn before you even get to revision. We tend to make the same mistakes over and over, so with this critique, you will probably have many of those problems at the front of your mind when you write in the future.


  14. It was an absolute pleasure :)

    So excited you wanted to pay it forward too. That's what this community is all about after all.

    Can't wait to find out where your writing journey leads you! :)

  15. Autumn.
    Thanks. I was freaking a little but I hope it helps others out.

    Margo B,
    Thanks and I'll be hopping to your blog soon on my crusader hunt.

    Margo K
    Oh that's good. I like it. See ya around the crusades.

    Tsk, Tsk. You're sounding like me! ;) It really made me open my eyes to writing the extraordinary instead of the ordinary.

    All I can say is thank you. ;)

  16. Wow! So brave of you, and it will be so helpful! If only more people were as brave! But even that little snippet got me interested and I'd like to read more, so you must be doing plenty of things right even if Marieke found things for you to improve :)

  17. Thanks for sharing! I love feedback from critiques they are so helpful :)

  18. Susanna,
    Thanks I'm still freaking about it. :)


  19. Oh, this will be interesting! I'm a bit of an unexperienced writer also (my first novel!) so hopefully I can learn, too. I may need to tighten my dialogue now. Thanks for doing this! :D

  20. I hope I can help someone else out.


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