I’m really excited!!! Sometimes I have light bulb moments that amaze me, and this blog post is testimony to that!
I was asking myself, “Karin, until you hook and reel in another editor for the next first line contest, what you can do to help your fellow writers hone their skills and have at the same time?” Allow me to step back and preface: I do not profess to be a teacher, on any level. I’m one of those do-it-yourselfers. That said, I do have opinions, a critical eye, and while I may not be able to articulate in writerly terms what may or may not be right or wrong with a blurb, scene or first page, I can show by example what I mean. Does that make sense?
Basically, I can critique by showing how a passage should or could be written as opposed to explaining in technical terms what is wrong and how to fix it.
But there are others out there who are very good at the technical aspect of the whys and why nots. Collectively, the people like me, combined with the people like say Jake (who I am not volunteering) who is amazing at articulating in words what I cannot, I bet we could do some serious good work on a first page.
See where I’m going with this? The good part of what I’m thinking of doing is all inclusive. Readers and writers can participate. So here’s the deal: Every Wednesday (most anyhow, there will be days where I am just overwhelmed and y’all will have to give me a break) will be dubbed Why or Why Not day. I will post a first page of some brave soul’s work on the blog (if you prefer anonymity that’s fine.). It will not be more than 250 words. As a community, we will critique the page. It can be as little as, “Wow, that is incredible!” Or “I found it slow out of the gate.” Admittedly, while those comments don’t offer much after the comment they do give a personal overall reaction. So if everyone thought it was incredible then well, it probably is. Same with the second comment.
What I’m looking for are comments like, “Wow, that was incredible. But I did not have a sense of setting or know whose POV we were in.” There can be comments like, “Your fist sentence was 8 lines long, I suggest you make it three sentences by punctuating here here and here.”
Maybe there is no emotion on the page or too much or too many adverbs or adjectives or run on sentences or it’s all introspective, which works if it’s good introspective but not so much if it’s bad.
Do you see where I’m going with this? I think as a community we may be able to help a fellow author out. And many of us learn by other’s mistakes.
There is one hard and fast rule to this though. NO FLAMING. Period. You can say, “I really did not like this at all.” Then constructively explain why. But a “Are you kidding me? This is junk!” will be deleted and anyone who says things like that will be blocked from my blog.
Ok, there is another rule: No rape, no golden showers, no bestiality and no explicit sex. If you have any of that in your submission I won’t post it. I can only post one page per week, so if yours does not go up, try try again. Oh, and if something is obviously a joke as in it’s really poor writing, I won’t post that either.
So, boiled down, every Wednesday I will post a page, and in the comment section we lend a helping hand. Be critical, be direct, tell it like it is, and the author whose page is up? Please don’t debate the comments. We’re here to help, not argue. Writing is always first and last subjective. You don’t have to like or agree with our feedback but you sent the page to me, so soldier up. That said; if you need clarification on a comment ask away.
This Why Why Not Wednesday is for all of us to have fun, and learn a little bit.
Drawing blood in not fun for the person attacked. I’m not offering this to be controversial, I am simply reaching out to lend a helping hand and in doing so hope that those of you who are readers and writers alike will do the same. So, there will be no train wrecks here for drive by potshots, there will be not flaming if someone doesn’t agree with a comment. There will be no free –for-alls, gang bangs or piling on.
This is for you by all of us. Play nice or don’t stop by. And if we can’t all play nice, then I will pack up my toys and go home.
I’m sorry if I’m coming off as a parent, but sometimes that is exactly what I must do. I want to have fun with this, I want to see the swell of support I know is out there. I don’t want infighting.
And, how, you ask, do you submit? Send in the body of your email with Why Why Not in the subject line, your first page to Kltabke@aol.com No attachments! It cannot be more that 250 words, if it is I will not chose it.
Then look for it the following Wednesday. If you’re not up, stick around and support the cause. You might get picked the following week, but you must resubmit!