And We Have Another Winner! Finding My Place Giveaway

Final Finding My Place CoverRemember when Margo L. Dill talked about her wonderful middle grade historical novel, Finding My Place? And you had a chance to win a five-page critique? And I said you’d squeal like a kid on Christmas morning when you won?

Prepare to squeal, Debra Mayhew!!!

I’m sorry the rest of you won’t be squealing (though maybe you’ve asked Santa to bring you a critique, too!), but you may still have a chance to win a critique from Margo. I know she’ll be touring blogs again in 2013, so go friend her on Facebook and then you can get all the details. Or just go ahead and buy Finding My Place.

You know you want to.

How Much Do You Love This Idea? (Rate It 1 to 10)

Oh. My. Goodness. I just came across the blog, Rate Your Story, and I seriously had one of those moments where I said, “No way. That can’t be right.” And read it all again, just to make sure.

But yep, here’s the deal: They will rate your story. For FREE. Within 2 weeks or so of submission. How generous is that?

So, yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Who’s this “they” you speak of? Might it be the likes of the Beneficent Mr. Hall and his minions (who, let’s face it, wouldn’t know a critique from a crouton)?

Rate Your Story says: Published writers volunteer their time to read and rate your story. And also: Some judges choose to reveal their identities when critiquing a manuscript they’ve invested a lot of time in, but please don’t expect to know.

Okay, you think, these folks sound like a credible bunch of writers. But why get my work rated? I mean, geez, I have a swell critique group.

Rate Your Story says: Having an outside opinion–from someone sells work to actual publishers–may prove invaluable. Even if you have a critique group, you may wonder: are they just being nice when they say my story is awesome, lovely, sooooo great, etc.?

And now you’re wondering what’s the catch. Because, come on, time is money, right?

Rate Your Story knew you’d wonder, too: We don’t know that there is one, really. But they added this: In the spirit of full disclosure, once your story is rated, you may receive a follow-up note or link offering critique or editing services – provided by one or more of the author judges who volunteer for Rate Your Story. It’s up to you if you’d like to hire a published writer to help revise or critique your story on an in-depth basis. You won’t be spammed, promise.

Okay, so you’ll need the info on how to submit, and you’ll want to read the blog because it has tons of writing take-away tips. And then you’ll want to send your story and get it rated. You might even want to volunteer to rate stories yourself. And P.S. I give this idea a big, fat 1 (which is the best score on their scale).

(Oh! And another P.S. Thanks to Donna L. Martin who mentioned her lovely critique and Rate Your Story!)

What Not to Do Wednesday on Fixin’ It (and The Rule of Three)

Here’s my Libra horoscope for the day (not that I’m a huge believer in such but there are the occasional moments when I wonder…)

“You don’t seek knowledge just so you’ll be smarter than the next guy. You learn because it’s fun and often quite profitable for you to do so. Your education will reflect your lightness of heart.”

Honestly, grasshopper, that made me feel a little tingly when I read it this morning. I mean, it could’ve been the first cup of caffeine jolting through my system, but I’m going to go with the cosmic coincidence. Because today, I was planning to discuss my Rule of Three of critique.

You see, I’m working on some revisions right now with a manuscript. Which sounds very civilized and simple. Perhaps I should have written it like this: I’m working on some %^&^%$%^^revisions RIGHT NOW with a %^&^%manuscript. 

Ahem. I received some excellent critique from a writer friend and now, I have some serious fixin’ to do, starting with the opening and ending with, well, the ending. That’s A LOT of revision, grasshopper. And oh, how I have resisted it. But the Rule of Three came into play, and so now I must get ‘er done.

So I should probably explain the Rule of Three when it comes to critique. If I get the same critique, three times, from three different writers, I undig my heels and make the changes. Sometimes, I only need one critique to make a change, especially if it’s one of those problems that another writer points out and I slap my head and say, “(whack) How did I miss that?” But if it’s a part of the story that I really, really love, I mean the kind of words that make me pat myself on the back and say, “(Pat, pat) You really are brilliant, aren’t you?” I do NOT want to mess with ’em.

The Rule of  Three kicks me in the metaphorical butt and says, “Why ask for help if you’re not going to learn from it?” So, dear grasshopper, don’t just nod your head and say, “(Smile) Thanks” when you keep getting the same critique. Take it from someone who’s resisted with every fiber of her being until finally, squashed and wore out, she fixes it.

Because ultimately, I want to be a profitable writer as well as a good one. That fun part of learning, and lightness of heart? Maybe that comes eventually. I’ll let you know.