Wednesday, December 23, 2009

NO-Kiss Fest and Critiques

Well, the Kissing Day Blogfest was a huge success for me, personally--and it seems like it did pretty well for everyone else, too! I'd like to take a moment now to say welcome to all the new followers and readers! I'm grateful to have found so many bloggers through this event.

I'll for sure be taking part in the No Kiss Fest being hosted by Frankie Writes. And if you loved my kissing day contribution, I think you'll be equally as taken with the almost kiss coming to you on January 2, 2010. I've already got it set to post after the clock strikes midnight. Possibly that means I am overeager, but I can't wait to read all the almost kisses that didn't make it into the kissing day extravaganza. Reading everyone's contributions wasn't just fun, but educational. I think it really helped me to identify what I felt were the most effective devices for physical and emotional scenes like that, and hopefully that will help to make me a better writer moving forward.

I have to say, the last couple of days have been kind of exciting for me. My daily writing is going really well, and I can't tell you how exciting it is to have daily feedback and critiques on these short 1000 word scenes I've been writing. Just when I think I have a handle on things, there's something more to be improved upon, but that's what makes it fun--the challenge of always having something to work toward.

In my experience there's something of a process to finding critique partners. A warming up phase, where your critiques are gentle, careful, feeling out the responses of the writer you're working with. Mostly praise, with some suggestions fit inside. Then as you get to know one another, and how thick your skins are, you can start to really dig in and there's a shift toward constructive criticism, and away from flowery and distracting or unnecessary praise. It isn't that you don't love the praise, too, just that you know when you get it, it's more meaningful. It means you did something really outstanding, or accomplished something huge that you had been struggling to capture. It becomes more personal, more reflective of your growth as a writer in style, structure, form, and voice.

I love that shift. I love finding that place, that balance, with critique and writing partners, where there's no compulsion anymore to be self-deprecating in either  your critiques or the presentation of your own work. It is what it is, unapologetic, but with the hope and confidence still that the next piece will always be better.

This will be my last post for the holiday season, probably-- unless something comes up and I can't contain myself. Like a compulsive Christmas Cookie Recipe Sharing moment. Look for my next post on January 2nd, for the No Kiss Fest, and regularly scheduled (Tuesday/Friday) posting to recommence on the 5th! I'll certainly still be reading in the meantime.

Happy Holidays and Have a Very Fabulous New Year!


  1. I hadn't heard of the No Kiss Fest, but now I'm excited!

    I love critique partners- I just got my manuscript back from a beta and the comments were awesome! My revisions made the writing a lot stronger, pointing out things I hadn't noticed.

    Happy Holidays!

  2. Now I am wondering if we went through that shift? Interesting commentary on it...I think you're right.

  3. Stephanie-- me too! On both counts! although, I'm way behind on revisions. SHAME ON ME!

    Sarah-- yes, we did. It was in our workshop class with Liz, I think. It helped that we were also doing Latin translation together though.

  4. Thanks for the heads-up on No Kiss Fest :)

    Love me my crit buddies. Feedback is so invigorating.

  5. Diana: You're welcome! Can't wait to see your scene! Thanks for coming by!

  6. Hi Amalia, can't wait for No-Kiss and I left something on my blog for you. :)

  7. Happy New Year Amalia,

    Many thanks for visiting my blog and making such a very kind comment about my poem.

    I look forward to following your blog over the year ahead :)

    All the best for now,


  8. Doug,

    Happy New Year, and Thanks for following!!


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