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Archive for the ‘Yoda’ Category

And now you know!

Some of you may wonder what the hell the ‘Yoda” tab is up there. Well, okay, probably not, but this is Yoda.

Anthony Richer

We go way back to some fun times — and some really kinda screwed up Internet shit — but we’ve been buds for a long, long time. He got the nickname Yoda because of this. And this. And that tab is up there because when he set up his blog he asked me a question about categories and I’m too damned lazy to take my example down.

I mention him today because I really liked his latest blog post. Particularly this part: take a shot of rum, hit send… to the “big guys”

Read it. Follow him. Take part in his challenges because I never seem to be able to work out the time.

That is all.

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Yoda Speak, Part Deux.

A good point about asking your BFF/family to crit your work was brought up yesterday by Yoda (That’s his official nickname now).

He says that in his experience your very close family/friends won’t be honest with you. Usually, they will want to spare your feelings. True. I had my cousin read something I did a long time ago and she didn’t get it. She bubbled and nodded, pulled the rah-rah cheerleader routine… and yet was unable to answer my questions about the thing. She didn’t understand it, but by the time she was finished I was a hero. I appreciated the rah-rah effort, but it was not helpful.

With my BFF, none of that’s the case at all. She is capable of telling me and she will tell me when I suck, but I’ll just take her eyes out with one well placed claw swipe across the face. Even if she says something positive. That’s something I’ve never figured out (nearest and dearest, anyone?), so she only gets to read no more than the few pages she already has when it’s done and I find a bigger sword.

Now I’m off to make up more excuses not to write today. My daughter’s birthday is Tuesday, yeah. I need to go shopping, yeah……

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I am not a tactful person. I so rarely possess the ability to tell a man/woman to go to Hell and make him/her feel happy to be on his/her way. That’s just me. *boom* Deal.

I am exceptionally blessed in that I have one person who can crit my work and I will not spring claws of any kind. We have known each other a long time and I have developed a complete respect for his opinion. “No Yoda speak in the narrative” is the funniest damned bit of red ink I have ever seen and it came from him. I laughed my ass off…. and agreed with him on that and every other red mark on the damned page and never batted an eye, after I was done wiping them. (I’m still nibbling at that steampunk. Might even get it finished by the Dec 31 deadline.) I do not know why I am so accepting of his crit vs. anyone else.  I did not argue with him about Yoda because he was right, that’s easy enough for a start of a reason as to why. It’s just the way it is.  *boom* I hope I can bribe him into a full crit of AOW one day. Cross your fingers.

All that said to relate this:

While I took the time to walk away from my anger this past week, I had a very new writer ask me to read something she had written and to “tell me what you think”. She was asking because she had not been getting any feedback lately in a writer’s group she was posting with. She had been… but not anymore. Key point, here. I had read a few lines of her work before and given her a bit of advice, so I knew what I was getting into. So I ask first….

“Ok, do you want me to give you an overall opinion, or a serious crit?” It was only a few paragraphs and I had time for either. I’m not sure she knew what she wanted, based on her answer, so I gave her both.

As a whole, I was intrigued by where the story was going. It had meat to it. I liked the concept. She covered a few well placed bases in those first few paragraphs and I told her so. Happy-Happy-Joy-Joy! But then…..

She argued with me on every single thing that I pointed out as needing tweaking or flat repair. All of it.

Hmm.  Just like she did the first time she asked me to read her work. And she wonders why no one answers her crit requests anymore. Hmm….

So, just some advice for anyone – eta, especially new writers –  asking for crit from anyone:

1) Is your work READY for a crit? IMO, unless you want red ink, just find a Beta Reader or get a casual opinion instead. If it’s just an idea/outline, you don’t need crit, you need a casual opinion. If it’s a final draft, you need crit. I’m guilty of this and have mended my ways.

2) Be specific, tell the other person exactly what you would like them to do. “Tell me what you think” does not fly. “Do you think the plot is too busy?” does.

3) Grow a thick skin. Do not ask for crit until you do. Writer’s are notoriously and easily offendable over the slightest damned thing (and fuck you, Spellcheck, offendable IS a damned word – see what I mean?). You know it, and I know it. A thin skin will only damage your frail writer’s ego and lead to THIS:

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/09/27/writers-must-kill-self-doubt-before-self-doubt-kills-them/

4) Don’t ask anyone with whom you have a familial relationship, including a close friendship (like your BFF). It will end badly. We always hurt the ones we love because they are a close and convenient target and we will always strike at them the hardest due to proximity. If they attack our “babies”, that’s grounds for murder, no matter whose uncle/cousin/husband/wife they are, how many shots you downed on Bourbon together or how much shared DNA exists. Do not ask them, leave them alone and let them live.

5) Once you have chosen someone, realize that you have asked someone you apparently respect for advice. They have earned your respect in some way, whether that’s because they’re published to the gills or have been a writer since Christ was a corporal. Be gracious in that they have volunteered their time and, especially to a writer, time is valuable. They could be working on their own shit, but they’re working on yours. Respect that. Notice the recurring theme: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Give them credit where it’s due – after all, you asked THEM.

6) Don’t argue. Debate is fine. Asking for an explanation is fine. Don’t argue. If you didn’t want the opinion, you should not have asked in the first place.

See #3 and #5.

Everyone has a bad day, gets tired and might make a mistake. If you find/think they are wrong, make your point and do it with some sense of knowledge of your craft. If they counter and, hey! they were right and YOU were wrong, be gracious and accept it. Arguing with someone about ‘the bright light of day’ shining in your character’s eyes when he just clearly stated he was watching the moonless sky over the mountaintops will not endear you to this person. They will simply not ever crit for you again, no matter how often you ask.

Imagine that. What a co-inky-dink….

Because she is a budding writer, I was as nice as possible. The Perky Badge I usually wear at work came in handy for it, Guinness was notified as well as the press. If she had been a long-toothed writer, I woulda’ ripped her a new one over her behavior. Will I crit for her again? Yes, because she’s exactly where I once was, with a few scribbled pages and a head full of decent ideas, and arguing against the crit just as vehemently as she was with me. But. Third time will be the charm. Or not.

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