Sunday, October 19, 2014

Are we really half-way through October?

The first faltering signs of Autumn are starting to show. The unseasonable mild spell is giving way to grey skies and an evening chill. We switched on the heating and started lighting wood fires for the first time last week.

Writing goals for October/November:

Still plodding through critique feedback and revising Tiamat's Nest. This is a long haul. I'm about half way through since starting in earnest back in July.

I'm also beta-reading a novel for a friend, making good progress there.

Finally, I'm preparing a talk on critiquing to give next month at the local library.

Even amongst friends a detailed critique can be hard to take, but blunt and honest critiques are a necessary growth pain for any writer. Venturing into the anonymous jungle of online critique groups in search of tough love is both terrifying and exponentially rewarding. I will be sharing practical tips for surviving - and thriving on - the harshest of critiquing experiences.

Details here if you happen to be in the vicinity and want to say "Hi."

All this adds up to a load of things competing for my time this month, but variety is good.


  1. Mid October indeed....a slippery slope to Christmas.

  2. Just over two months to Christmas!
    Don't know if I'd go with unknown critique partners, but I did have two new ones for this last book, and they brought a fresh perspective.
    Good luck with the talk!

  3. It's sweater weather here in Oregon, and chubby people don't look good in sweaters. I guess I shouldn't speak for all chubby people. I've been polishing Part One of my memoir and it's off in the mail tomorrow. I have no illusions about finding a publisher but you never know. At least this particular publisher has already accepted three of my stories.

    Take care.

  4. Ack! Delores! I don't even want to think about that until December.

    Alex, all critique partners start off new at some point, the thing is to build relationships that work for you. I do enjoy fresh perspectives though.

    Stephen, good luck with the publisher search.

  5. Critiques are a necessary aspect of writing. Ive managed to find good two groups, one online and one in person, with great people that offer constructive feedback, even when it is blunt. Sometimes blunt is the only way to achieve clarity.

  6. Wish I could attend that talk--sounds like a good one!

    I'm trying to find a good face-to-face critique group here in NYC. One populated by SF-minded folk, I mean. May take a local class to further that end; they've only just recently begun to offer one through Gotham Writer's Workshop. As you already know, up until this year the SF writing courses on offer there were online only. Even though I've already taken 3 such courses in the past, I might sign up for the in-class version as a way of meeting people.

    And yes--Fall is officially here! Meaning, the temps seem to finally be complying with the season that started 4 weeks ago. As far as I'm concerned, this is the first week of Autumn. I'm in a very good mood. Although, if I owned a house and had to rake leaves and prepare the lawn/garden for Winter? Maybe not so much! :)

  7. Donna, I think you don't always need to be blunt to get the point across, but it always needs to be honest.

    David, good luck with your search for a good group. I thought of you when the temperature started dropping - I know how you look forward to the cool seasons.

  8. Hi Ian,

    You are certainly maintaining your writing resources. All the very best on doing that talk. It should prove most interesting. Whenever I start a talk, I often say "be seated" to my audience. Yes, I'm still delusional.


  9. Hi Ian. Sounds like a busy month ahead. I'm always busy, but i'd prefer that to not having enough to do any day. Yes critiquing can be fraught but there is a right and a wrong way to do it I think. Good luck with your talk.


  10. Gary, yes, I can just imagine you doing that just to confuse people :)

    Denise, giving critiques is an art and there's already loads of advice on how to go about it. This talk is how to deal with receiving critiques - I just realized that I omitted to make that clear in this post.

  11. Good luck with the editing. I am also beta reading for a friend and it is quite time-consuming, but fun. I'd love to make it to your talk. We'll see. And yeah, it has been so weirdly warm this year. Wow.

  12. So cool! (Literally.) It's finally getting cool enough that I want to go for walks at night, but sometimes I do have to take a jacket. (Because it drops below 76.) We wussy Floridians...

    That's a brilliant idea for a presentation. You make me want to do one on the same subject here in Orlando. I won't, because I've got way too many other things going on, but awesome. I hope it goes super well!

    Unleashing the Dreamworld

  13. Shell, if you can hop across the water for a visit that would be fabulous! Yeah, beta reading does take a chunk of time, but we gotta help each other out.

    Crystal, this seems to be the side of the coin that everyone ignores, which is why I picked it. I'll let you know next month how things go.

  14. Thanks again for that beta read. :-)

    Best of luck with your edits!

  15. I wish I lived close enough to come to the library to hear your presentation! And I think it's wonderful that you're doing that, Ian.

    The autumn colors are all on the ground here--and fading. Last weekend the leaves half down, the weekend before, they were stunning. How quickly it flies by. I saw on our long-range weather forecast that we're to have a rain/snow mix next Saturday. Yikes! Enjoy your autumn color and the cooler autumn days. :-)


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