Friday, June 17, 2011

FFW - Critique Partners & BIG Surprise!!!

Well, there’s a good chance I’ll be skipping the theater this weekend – Green Lantern is getting awful reviews. That sucks - I’ve been looking forward to this film for so long!

On the positive side, Mel gave me the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award and The Yard Bard gave me the Stylish Blogger Award. Thanks, ladies!


Today’s topic for the Fantastic Friday Writers is critique partners. I’m stoked – not only was this my suggestion, but it gives me the opportunity to brag on my critique buddies.

For those who’ve hesitated to find a critique partner, let me put you at ease. When you find the right ones, it’s awesome! There’s a ton of advice on what to look for in a CP as far as compatibility, strengths, experience – all that stuff. I’m just going to describe what my three CP bring to the table and maybe that will help you in your search. (Hey, you didn’t come here for expert advice anyway, right?)

Jeffrey Beesler is the detail man. He sees repetition, passive phrases, pronoun confusion – all the small stuff I tend to miss. He doesn’t hold back – he lets me know when something doesn’t work. Jeffrey gives it to me straight and I respect that!

Anne Gallagher writes romance. She is the master of relationships. Anne brings the passion. She looks for the flow between the two main characters, as well as my numerous typos. And, she is also part of my target audience – I was stunned how many non-science fiction people read my first book, and I want to continue writing stories they enjoy.

Rusty Webb keeps me sane. He sees repetition of phrases & words and unnecessary modifiers. Rusty also makes suggestions – detailed suggestions – of what I could add or modify or explain better. He goes to great lengths to give me ideas. Most important, Rusty does it all with humor. And for that dude, I salute you!

Now, what do you want in a critique partner? If you have them, what are they like? And do they make Coke come out of your nose?

Now, for the BIG SURPRISE for my author buddies!!! Above this post are tabs – one is marked awesome authors. Click it! I have done my best to present the latest release from every author I know, highlighting some really great writers and special friends. (And if you don’t see your latest book listed, let me know! I am still working on it.)

Have a great weekend!

110 comments:

Anne Gallagher said...

Hey thanks for the shout out. Sorry about the Green Lantern.

Margo Benson said...

Your CPs sound terrific! I think it's important to have them from diverse aspects and strengths and to spread your target market of readers.

Your authors list is a brilliant idea - if a tad dangerous on the wallet!

Laura Pauling said...

It's funny how each cp ends up getting known for a certain area without trying. And cool tab!

Ted Cross said...

I don't know Rusty, but I know the other two are great. I envy you. It's nice to have people with differing strengths. My group is sort of off at the moment, partly because I am going through a big move, but also because Matt is busy editing. I sure hope we do come back together again later this year. Do you think four people is the best size? That's what we've generally had.

Pk Hrezo said...

What a fab thing to do, Alex!

And sounds like you have some awesome CPs. Man, it makes such a big difference. The more the better IMO cuz each one picks out something different.

Have a great weekend!

iZombie said...

i thought that green lantern looked awful... though i am sorry it messed up your plans. i am looking forward to transformers 3 and harry potter pt2.

great weekend to you and all your readers.

jeremy

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Congrats Alex on the well deserved awards.
Enjoy your week-end.
Yvonne.

Liz P said...

Sounds like you got some great partners there!

And I love the idea of showcasing the books of fellow bloggers. So many bloggers with published work!

Dafeenah said...

Seems like you have a terrific trio there. The tab thing is an awesome idea!!

Glynis said...

Congrats on the award and thanks for the links. There are a couple of books in your AA tab I haven't come across, so will have a look.

Enjoy your weekend.

Lynn said...

I like how each cp brings critiques in his or her unique way. Sounds like you have a talented team!

The Tame Lion said...

Lynn has said what I wanted to say... I'm somehow speechless now...

Christine Danek said...

I love my CPs. They make my work stronger, and, yes, make me laugh.
So sorry about Green Lantern. Bummer.
Have a great weekend!

Karen Walker said...

Alex, what an awesome thing to do for your author blogging buddies. Thanks so much and for including my book. We all might just have to steal this idea!
Karen

salarsenッ said...

I'm with you. Kind of bummed about The Green Lantern.

CPs are so important. I have amazing writer friends and betas but have yet to lock into a solid group of CPs. I really want that.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

awesome!! I can't wait for when i have a book and you can throw me up on that tab too

Nebular said...

Alex, the critics are not always right, you know. You want to see it, than go see it! Who gives a damn about what critics think? :)

Lynda R Young said...

I feel like I've seen Green Lantern after watching the trailer lol.

Crit partners are awesome. I love their keen eye and honesty :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Anne, you're welcome. I've really appreciated your contribution. Kept me from sucking in that area.

Margo, they are awesome, and happy reading.

Laura, I think that's why I selected them.

Ted, there are four of us, so that's probably a good size.

Pk, they all see something different, which is wild.

Jeremy, might just be a good weekend to stay at home.

Tame Lion, women have a way of doing that...

Christine, laughter is good!

Karen, you're welcome! And steal away.

Salarsen, you could always post a desperate cry for help like I did!

Sarah, I'll be excited when that happens.

George, Green Lantern was one of my favorites, and if REALLY good, I'll be disappointed.

Angela Felsted said...

Great new tab! And I sounds like have some awesome critique partners. I could definitely use one who sees all the details I miss.

TerryLynnJohnson said...

Wow, what a bonanza of great books to check out! Thank you for putting this all together, Alex! How awesome!

so glad you've got some great crit partners there!
Looking forward to hearing what you think of the Green Lantern.

The Happy Whisk said...

Why not see it anyway?

Mason Canyon said...

Wonderful new tab. Great way to find great new books to check out.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress
Freelance Editing By Mason

Heather M. Gardner said...

I'm surprised at you. Listening to the movie reviews from the masses and not getting a first hand account? That doesn't sound like you. It can't be all bad. It's Ryan!

You are very lucky to have such great CP's.

HMG

Julie Dao said...

They sure are making a lot of superhero movies, huh? What do you think about the new Captain America one that's coming out? I saw a trailer for it when I went to see Super 8.

Congrats on your rocking CPs and I am so checking out your awesome authors list. Time to build up my summer reading list!

Stephen Tremp said...

I know Jeffrey, Anne, and Rusty and I can see how you would be excited to have them as your critique partners! They're generals in your awesome army! And thanks for the shout out on your Awesome Authors tab. Its great to acknowledge people and give them additional exposure.

Matthew MacNish said...

That's why a group is so key. When different partners have different strengths, it work out for a great balance.

Carol Kilgore said...

I kinda wondered about Green Lantern when I saw the trailer. Sigh.

Critique partners are AWESOME when they're good. Good for you giving yours a shout-out :)

Happy Weekend!

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm sure I'll eventually watch Green lantern when it comes out on ppv.

Ciara said...

Great minds think alike. I was working on a similar thing on my blog. :) Well, before I crashed it earlier this week. :( Now that it is fixed I hope to get the new stuff up in the next week or so.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Really? I hadn't realized that. Hubby and I were planning on seeing it.

CPs are the best! It's so important to have ones that challenge you and help to take your writing to the next level.

And thank you so much for including me on the awesome authors list! That made my day! :)

Sarah McCabe said...

I don't plan on having any critique partners. I plan on having 2-3 "first readers". But they won't be fellow writers, they will simply be part of my target audience. Though my dear husband, who is a grammar nazi, will do some editing for me.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, Angela. Just put out a call and I'm sure you'll get some volunteers.

Glad you like it, Terry.

Whisk and Heather, it's a favorite of mine and I really don't want to see a treatment that is less than worthy.

Julie, I think the new Captain America looks great!

Stephen, that was the goal!

Carol, mine rock!

Charles, that's probably where I'll catch it as well.

Ciara, you're not the only one!

Nicole, you're welcome! That was the latest book, correct?

Suze said...

Alex, it's awesome how you give props to your peeps with such zeal. I can see that this comes back on your head with all of your followers and the popularity of your blog.

Job well done, friend. I answered your question over at my blog and reproduce it here:

I think story is far more mysterious and textured than what I've written about 'the question,' but I think in commercial writing, that which will keep readers coming back is perfecting the art of putting a needle under your readers' skin-- a thorn or something that just gnaws at their imagination, that which won't leave them alone, until they open up the pages of your book and find out 'how it ends.' The trick is to consistently give them a satisfying answer. A friend of mine who is an avid reader confessed she will always commit to a book. What she starts, she finishes. I asked her if the pay-off is there at the end more often than not. She said, no, more often it is not there. But when it's there, that author is one she'll return to again, and again. Hope that answers your question. Let me know, I'd love to continue dialoguing about it if you have additional thoughts to offer.

Sorry about the sucky 'Green Lantern' reviews, kid. Did you go see 'Thor?'

M.J. Fifield said...

I'm so glad to hear that you have such a great group of CPs. I definitely haven't had a similar success in that area. Good for you for giving them props.

Too bad about the Green Lantern. I'd been thinking about seeing that with a friend but maybe I'll skip it now.

Christine Rains said...

I have two great CPs myself. One is the detail gal and the other the overall story gal. I'm lucky to have them. I've had a few in the past that were just cheerleaders and missed more in editing than I did on subsequent go-throughs.

Arlee Bird said...

Nice! It's a great thing how you are always willing to share the stage with others and give credit for their accomplishments. No wonder you have such a loyal army of followers and fans.


Lee
Tossing It Out

L.C. Frost said...

So awesome about your CPs, Alex, and way to give a great shoutout. There should be CP Awesomesauce Appreciation Day or something. *goes to plot...*

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, Suze - I try! And you worded that far better than I did. Good job. Yes, I did see Thor - it was awesome.

MJ, you might still enjoy it, I just hate to see a favorite superhero of mine get less than perfect treatment.

Christine, cheerleading is good, but we need the truth.

Thanks, Lee!

Old Kitty said...

Aw wow the Green Lantern is having some 1 star reviews here too!! OH dear!!!

Nevermind!! 5 star plus for gorgeous and stunning CPs!! Yay!!! take care
x

Nate Wilson said...

Glad you've got such great critique partners, Alex. Someday I'm sure I'll find some of my own (although, first I should get my novel to a point where it's ready for critique (of course, first I have to get back to writing that thing (yeah, I've become far too good at procrastination (and nested parentheses)))).

Raising Marshmallows said...

I have to go watch The Green Lantern anyway. I have kids and let's face it, they don't have any taste in movies, a one star means nothing to them.

My CP gives it to me straight, and she's thorough. She's not there to coddle me, I have my mother for that. My CP really challenges me to be a better writer.

J. D. Brown said...

Great post! I agree, and good CP is worth every penny (or they would be if we paid the them lol). Anastasia and Charlene are my beta buddies and those girls are AMAZING! My best friends and also my biggest fans - and the fact that they are also authors is a God-send because they know how important it is for me to get it right.

Ana is my editing queen - she sees passive voice, typos. grammar, repeating words, confusing phrases, sentence structure, etc.

And Charlene keeps my scenes, plot flow, and characters on their toes! I don't want to know where I would be without them. :)

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

That was great of you to compile recent books, Alex. I will be checking it out. Thanks, and have a nice weekend.
xoRobyn

Jules said...

Bummer on Green Lantern but I'll watch anyway once it comes to video. I need a writing coach! A mean, hard nosed one, got any recommendations? :D
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Lydia K said...

I've been thinking about doing a tab like that too. Great idea Alex!

Sangu said...

Your critique partners sound like they're exactly what you need, I'm so glad for you!

The author tab is a fantastic idea!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Kitty, they are five star critiquers!

Nate, we all have to excel at something. You'll find them!

Raising, I bet they enjoy it anyway.

JD, sounds like you are all set.

You as well, Robyn!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Congrats Alex....


Nice job on the Awesome authors.... One buddy of mine you might know about Roland Yeomans has like six books out. I know you must know him, but here's his link http://rolandyeomans.blogspot.com/

Have a great weekend!

M Pax said...

Awww, bummer on the Green Lantern. Husband unit will be bummed. Great surprise you made there.

And yay, I think my internet is fixed.

Summer Ross said...

Creating an author page like that is super sweet! It looks great!

Aww and I was looking forward to your review of green lantern

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, Michael. I know Roland, but at the moment, focusing on my regular visitors and buddies.

Mary, glad you are back in business.

Thanks, Summer. I know, I'm bummed as well.

Prayer Notes by Cynthia said...

Alex, I love the idea of CP's. We did something like this when I was a teacher and an assistant principal-critiquing a fellow colleague's classroom and/or building. It works when you have honest and frank peeps, involved. Love the tabs and links! Thanks, for stopping by my blog today, and many blessings!
P.S. Thinking about creating a few original sci-fi bookmarks.... I bet I would freak a few followers out, huh? I'm going to see Green Lantern, anyway! LOL

laughingwolf said...

grats on your soon-to-be-completed sequel, alex... thx for the tips, too :)

Lola Sharp said...

Congrats on your awardage. :)

And you do have delightful CPs.

I am blessed to have The Best CPs...and some great betas. But, we had to weed through some duds to whittle it down to a perfect CP group. I love them all.

Yeah, I love me some Ryan, especially sans shirt, but GL is getting butchered by the reviews. I'll wait for dvd rental.

Happy weekend,
Lola

Manzanita said...

Congrats on your awards. Well deserved. Although I'm not trying to write a book, I love hanging out with writers. Such great ideas, in case I do in my next life. :)
Manzanita@Wannabuyaduck

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Cynthia, I think that would be cool! And go see the movie - you might really enjoy it.

Thanks, Laughingwolf.

Lola, butchered is a good word! And I was really lucky that my critique partners were all excellent from the start - as were the three people I didn't select!

Manzanita, I post about a lot of other stuff as well. Thanks for stopping by!

Leovi said...

Congratulations on these awards. Surely a writer who deals with such delicacy to his critics, and even can learn from them, he deserves all the awards. Greetings.

Jemi Fraser said...

I have the bestest crit buddies - they're smart, honest & encouraging!

Jeffrey Beesler said...

Wow, I'm completely honored. Not just what you said, Alex, but with the comments people have made here. I'm proud to be a part of your army!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Leovi, thank you so much!

Jeffrey, you're welcome - you're my straight shooter. And I will finish reading your book this weekend!

LynNerd said...

Hahaha, haven't had Coke come out of my nose yet, but they've made me laugh so hard, I can't breathe at times. I love my critique group, and you're so right that each one has their strengths. I'd be a pretty lonely and lousy writer without my critique peeps. Nice post.

Nancy Thompson said...

I would be nowhere without my CP and while she & I have become the best of friends, I can always count on her being honest & forthright in her evaluation of my ms & query. Every writer, published or not, should have one. The hard part is finding them. I wonder, how did you find yours, Alex?

Donna Hole said...

My CP's all bring a slightly different take to the table too. I'm grateful for the different perspectives, and areas of expertise.

I hope The Lantern isn't a disappointment. I've been dying to see it too.

.......dhole

tfwalsh said...

Very relevant post - critique partners are so necessary and awesome:)

LoneIslander said...

Always good to have someone else look over your work.

Amy said...

That stinks about Green Lantern, I was wanting to see it this weekend too! :o)

TAG! YOU'RE IT! Alex, I wanted to let you know that I tagged you on my blog - come on over and see what it's all about!

The Old Silly said...

That sucks that Green Lantern sucks.:-(

But wow, man - what a gracious and comprehensive shout-out with the authors ... that's really nice of you, and I know the kind of time it takes to do something like that. I appreciate being in there with Beware the Devil's Hug, and thank you very much!

Marvin D Wilson

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

When I finish the first draft of my new project, I'm definitely begging Jessica Bell to be my crit partner again. She's honest and passionate, and she's a character-driven author like me so her insights always mesh with my true vision for the people I'm writing about. Can't put a price on the value of a good partner!

Enid Wilson said...

It's like marriage, need to find someone compatible and the timing is right. Good that you've found the right ones.

Chemical Fusion

Liza said...

This just highlights how writers help each other. I love it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lyn, you find the right people, and it's awesome.

Nancy, I just posted a big HELP! here on my blog a few months ago and was fortunate enough to receive eight offers of help. Selecting just three was the tough part.

Amy, thanks, and I'll come see!

You're welcome, Marvin! I'm sure I'm missing somebody, but I really tried hard to locate all of my blogging buddies' books.

Nicole, you can't!

Awesome, isn't it, Liza?

TIMMYTHEROBOT said...

grats on the award

Lauracea (Sue R) said...

Lucky you, Alex, to find the right crit partners. You posted a HELP!? What a good idea...

BTW I haven't forgotten CassaStar - I look at it on my Kindle longingly every day to read it. I would say that NOW it's next on my list. Goody!!!!

mshatch said...

I heard Super Eight isn't getting great reviews either :(

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks Timmy.

Susan, that's all I did. And I hope you enjoy my book!

MSHatch, it's actually gotten good reviews and is my favorite movie of the summer so far.

Simon Kewin said...

Yeah, shame about Green Lantern - I'd been looking forward to that too.

Great AA list you've compiled. I damn well hope to qualify for it some day soon!

Kimberly said...

I wasn't really interested in Green Lantern, for some reason I shy away from the comic style movies unless my husband drags me to them. But saw Super 8 last night and loved it!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Simon, the moment you have a book, I'll add you to the list my friend.

Kimberly, Super 8 is the best movie so far this summer.

Powdered Toast Man said...

Congrats on the awards.

I don't see my latest book, it's titled "How to potty train a grizzly bear". I'll send you over a copy.

Melissa Bradley said...

Am going to see Green Lantern tomorrow and will be writing a review as well. I think it will be good...It's Green Lantern and Ryan Reynolds.

Great job on the Awesome Authors, I have a lot of great new authors to check out. Maybe you'll add me some day. :)

alexia said...

Happy Saturday! Loving the Awesome Authors page! You know a ton more people than I do... I'm going to have to do some blog surfing and get to meet these folks!

RaShelle said...

Congrats on the award, Alex! Totally bummed Gren Lantern is getting bad reviews. Dang it. I'm not sure what I'm gonna do about that. It's got my Hottie McHotterton in it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

PTM, please do!!

Melissa, if you have a book out, you know I will add it to the top of the list! And curious to see what you thought of Green Lantern.

Alexia, I get around...

RaShelle, go anyway!

Huntress said...

Congrats for receiving the awards! No one deserves recognition more.

And a big-time thanks for the Awesome Authors tab. I was in desperate need for reading material!

Saumya said...

Ooh, sorry about the Green Lantern. And your surprise at the end is amazing! I'm sure all the authors really appreciate it. Your critique partners sound wonderful.

Tanya Reimer said...

Wow! Sounds like you have a great team! And man, I plan to go see the Green Lantern anyway, heck with the reviews, I'll make my own.

Ella said...

Sad about Green Lantern, too~ Happy to hear you have such great CP!
Been awhile since I had soda run out of my nose; I miss it, lol!

I love the new tab~

Shannon Lawrence said...

Great idea on the tab! I don't have CP's yet, just a couple Beta readers, but it's always good to hear information about CP's and what to look for. All I know is that I want them to say it straight and tell me what they truly think and what needs to be worked on. Otherwise, what is the point?

Tina @ Life is Good
and I are joining forces in another challenge. We're going to visit and comment at each of the participants, starting with the reflections post. We hope you'll join us!

Shannon @ The Warrior Muse

Raquel Byrnes said...

Oh my gosh, Alex! Thank you so much for including me in your Awesome Authors tab! *blushes*

Great post on critique partners. I have been with mine and I have to say she's really pushed me to hone my craft like no other. I'm truly grateful for her.

I heard about Green Lantern too...I don't know if I'll go see it. I'm counting the days to The Avengers.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Huntress, don't want you to be without reading material!

Tanya, go for it.

Ella, I try not to do the soda thing often.

Shannon, I'll visit a few more off the main list, but I doubt I'll make it to all of them.

Raquel, you're welcome.

Talli Roland said...

Yay! Thank you so much, Alex! How fantastic to see all the novels by blogging buds there. I may steal your idea and do a similar thing on my blog. There are still so many I need to get around to.

Hope you're having a good weekend, despite not seeing The Green Lantern.

Monti said...

Alex, you are absolutely amazing! Thank you for including my book, Dangerous Hearts, in your awesome authors list.

I can understand why your army has 825 dedicated members.

Interesting critique partners for a perfect mix. I don't have any which is probably both good and bad because with my crazy schedule I need the help but wouldn't have time for payback. Not good or fair!

Happy Father's Day!
Monti
NotesAlongTheWay

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Talli, you're welcome and steal away! Alexis did a nice one as well.

Monti, you are welcome. And that is the tradeoff - must have time to return the critique.

Laila Knight said...

Thanks for the advice. I've been giving critique partners much tought lately. Congrats on the awards. Too bad about Green Lantern. I really wanted to watch that movie in 3D.

Melissa Bradley said...

Cool! And thank you very much. Shall I post here or send you an email?

Nas Dean said...

Hi Alex,

Thanks for the list of what we need from CP's. Yours sound fabulous!

Nas Dean said...

Hi Alex,

Thanks for the list of what we need from CP's. Yours sound fabulous!

Ann Best said...

I'd want a critique partner who can see the weaknesses in my writing and not be afraid to point them out. In doing this, humor is always good. Rusty Webb sounds like a good choice!
Ann Best, Memoir Author

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Melissa, just send me an email with a link to your book. Unless it's on your website or blog? I can get it there - just let me know.

Nas, they are awesome.

Ann, Rusty is great. Can't wait for everyone to meet him when he does a guest post here next week.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

You're the awesomest blogger friend ever.
I've never been a Green Lantern fan so I was waiting to hear from some one who has seen it other than the reviews in the paper or on line. I'm counting the days to Transformers. Hope it doesn't let me down.

Tina said...

Glad you have such awesome partners! My partner is also my best friend. She's published, I'm not yet. We critique each other's work and bounce ideas. I don't know what I'd without her. She's
Life @ Cee. I'd so appreciate you checking her out if you have a chance. The link to her book "Family Secrets" is on her blog, and the book is available on Amazon in print and Kindle editions.
Sad to hear the news on the Green Lantern. My men and I have been so looking forward to it...
Tina @ Life is Good

Tyrean Martinson said...

Alex - I appreciate your enthusiastic support of fellow author buddies, and critique partners. Great post!
I haven't found the golden critique group yet, but now that life has settled to a summer pace, I'm going to start looking.

Jennie Bailey said...

I adore my crit partners - and we crack each other up! Each one brings something different to the table - one has questions up the wazoo, which is great because it really helps you flesh out your plot and make sure that it's complete. The other is a grammar nazi. Completely. Each one has their strengths and it makes me a better writer, makes my stories stronger. Love THEM!

What a GREAT surprise for your author buddies! And how helpful for those of us who are looking for our next book to read. You rock, Alex!!!

Samantha Vérant said...

Hmm. My CPs are more like cheerleaders. They find all the technical stuff, and the plot holes, and they also provide some humor along the way with comments.

Laura Eno said...

*note to self - don't show up late to Alex's blog or I'll be scrolling down the comments FOREVER!*
What an awesome thing you've done for authors and I'm thrilled to make the list! Thank you. :)

Karen Peterson said...

I'm going to see Green Lantern anyway. Critics, be damned.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Susan, Transformers is next week!

Tina, I will go say hello!

Tyrean, thanks! Just put up a help needed post and you'll find them.

Thanks, Jennie - you rock! And that's what is so cool - each of my critique buddies has a unique take.

Laura, thanks for the laugh!! Yeah, I was a little surprised to look and realize there were still more new comments.

Karen, I might just do a double feature this weekend and see it as well.

Vicki Rocho said...

You're not gonna let what other people are saying stop you from seeing a movie you've been looking forward to, are ya?

Great list of authors/books! You're sooo good about giving back to others.

Melissa Bradley said...

The links are on my blog with the newest at the top. Thank you so much! This is completely awesome. If you have a problem or anything let me know at melbwritesATgmailDOTcom.