Title: Rachel Dahlrumple
Author: Shea McMaster
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Source: Goddess Fish Tours (author)
Genre: Romantic Suspense (PG-13)
I was selected to be one of several guest post stops along the tour line for Shea McMasters! YEAH!! This being November and many people involved in NANOWRIMO she is talking to us today about critique partners and how to find one and how to handle brainstorming!
First of all, I’m thrilled to be here. Thank you so much for hosting a leg of the “Rachel Dahlrumple” release tour!
Earlier in this blog tour, (Nov 7 Romance with an Attitude) I wrote about breaking through writer’s block and how I have a group of “hammers” who help me smash that particular obstacle from time to time. I can’t stress enough just how valuable critique partners and/or groups are.
It can be incredibly difficult to find like-minded souls. I’ve been extremely fortunate to find people with similar outlooks as far as helping, but they all approach writing from different directions. And of course, they have oodles of diverse experiences to draw on. So here are some suggestions for finding and working with critique partners.
Don’t choose critique partners by how much they stroke your ego. Find people honest enough to be blunt, without being cruel. There’s never a need to be cruel. We’re all working toward the same goal. It’s not a competition and slashing someone’s efforts serves no purpose at all.
Where do you find critique partners? That can be tougher. My first ones I found online through Yahoo Groups. I even formed my own crit loop once to fit a certain niche. Local CPs can often be found at RWA chapter meetings. Or if you don’t have an RWA chapter nearby, is there another writer’s group? Find the one that nourishes your writing. Don’t tolerate the ones who put you down to make themselves seem superior. Another way to connect with other writers is National Novel Writing Month, known as November to the rest of the world. Check out www.NaNoWriMo.org. There are local gatherings in almost every region. Get connected and get involved.
Once you find some critters, there are common sense rules to brainstorming and critiquing. One of the most important is to keep an open mind. Not all experienced writers will have great suggestions, and not all newbies are clueless. Often if a writer is new, he or she is still enough of a reader to offer insights from that angle. All comments are valuable in some way.
If three people tell you the same thing, whether it’s the scene starts in the wrong place, the order of action is off-kilter, or the hero is icky, take a long hard look at your “darlings.” They may not be so darling after all and need to be killed. If I get three opinions which don’t agree, then I feel free to ignore them, or select one that seems more right than the others. And if they’re all off base, say Thank You, and move on.
When doing a brainstorming session, be respectful. Each person gets to speak without interruption. State your opinion, or listen to the opinion being spoken. Most important, if you’re the recipient, acknowledge the offering. You don’t have to use any of it, but someone took the time to think about your work. It won’t kill you to say thank you.
If you are the one offering your opinion, once you’ve had your say, and if the author doesn’t use your idea, drop it. It’s their story, they get to choose what they do or don’t use. Doesn’t mean your input isn’t appreciated or useful, it just means it’s not right at the moment. It may be perfect for the next story. And by drop it I mean don’t come back to it meeting after meeting, critique after critique. Move on. You’ve been heard. Don’t bog things down with old business. I could go on and on, and some people do, but it’s important to remember. There’s not much worse than taking abuse for a scene you wrote, and changed, years ago. Keep the momentum moving forward.
And last but not least, when giving a return critique or helping someone brainstorm, remember this simple saying: Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Don’t say it mean.
Which brings me around to my current release, Rachel Dahlrumple. If you’ve read it and like it, I’d love to hear from you. If you hated it, well, um… Okay. But if you loved it, I’d sure appreciate a starred review the next time you blow through Amazon or B&N, or wherever you picked up your copy.
And I’d like to hear about your best or funniest experience with a critique partner or group. Or if you had a session that was a good learning experience.
As an example, I’ll never forget the day I was driving the carpool to crit meeting when my friend climbed into the car and said, “I love your world, I love the secondary characters, but I hate you hero and heroine.” Yeah. But hey, she had some valid points, I did make changes, and that book went into trade paperback print. So it turned out well in the end.
Now you. Remember a particularly pivotal critique?
Traditional Romance for Modern Women
Shea will be giving away a custom tote bag or mug to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour! Follow the tour by clicking on the banner at the top of the page and comment on the blogs. The more you comment the better your chance of winning!
About the Book:
Her husband's death is just the beginning of her marital woes.
Rachel's humiliation over the discovery of her late husband's affairs turns to fear when one of his mistresses sends her a poisoned bouquet. But finding the source of the killer flowers is only one step on her path to solving the mystery her husband left behind.
Deputy Dan Weston is with Rachel when the bouquet arrives, and he's at her side as she deals with so many of the secrets that come to light after her husband's death. Dan has carried a torch for Rachel since puberty and he's not going to let her dead husband's vindictive girlfriends or his psychotic mother come between them now. But that means finding out who is sending snakes and poisoned posies before one kills Rachel.
This was a great romantic read to while away these colder fall evenings! The suspense kept building...even tho' I had the doer figured out pretty quickly the book kept me involved in many other side stories that I didn't lose interest like I do with other books after I figure out who done it! There were a few repeats of personal stories of side characters that did distract me..but it only happened a couple of times. There was so much mystery surrounding the family and it came out in pieces that I couldn't put the book down so I could find out all the secrets. I also loved the fact that we were so into Rachel's head and her spunk (read sarcasm) came out loud and clear and I loved listening to her. There was a lot of emotion packed in this book..so if you get emotional reading...you may want some tissues handy! This is a little more on the edgy side...so if you like your romance on the sweet side...you may want to shy away...but it's nowhere near an erotica classification! I'd recommend this for these upcoming cold winter nights to help heat things up!
About the author:
The softer, sweeter side of Morgan O’Reilly, Shea McMaster lives for traditional romance.
Born in New Orleans, raised in California, Shea/Morgan got moved to Alaska in 1977, where she attended high school before running back to California for college. Alas, once back home she met and fell in love with her own forever true hero, a born and raised Alaska man. Since then she’s had a love-hate relationship with America’s largest state.
With her one and only son half way through college, and mostly out of the house, Shea is fortunate to spend her days engaged in daydreaming and turning those dreams into romantic novels and novellas featuring damsels in distress rescued by their own brains and hunky heroes.
THANK YOU SHEA AND GODDESS FISH TOURS FOR ALLOWING ME TO PARTICIPATE!
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I was given a copy of the book to review and no other compensation was given and I was not required to write a favorable review!