I’m always learning. I learn from my own mistakes, I learn from reading how-to books, I learn from writing critiques and from continuing to write. There’s almost nothing as powerful as a strong critique that’s completely on track with where the story went wrong, no not went wrong, simply fell short. I took advantage of a wonderful offer by Stephen V. Ramey, fellow writer (and Writers of the Future finalist!) and slush reader/editor at Triangulation: buy the newest anthology “End of the Raindow” through him, and he’d offer you a critique.
There are a few things you should know about Triangulation. This is a market I’d like to break into because it’s “new” writer friendly. A friend pointed me to their website last year and I’ve been tickled ever since. I submitted a story last year that they liked but not enough to buy, but enough to offer some very detailed feedback. They work usually on the same theme as the PARSEC short story contest. They are again this year.
While I’m whittling away on a story I’m sure they can’t refuse (writer’s toolbox neccessity: massive ego during first draft, or one is doomed), I sent dear Steve a fantasy romance to critique for me. I’ve already had a bunch of critiques on this one through both my writer’s groups and revised based on that feedback. Let me tell you: the mansuscript he sent back to me was bloodied with comments. It looked like a mass consolidation of five or six crits on the story. I’m still working through the comments, some of which I’m reacting to with a “duh!” or “omg I never realized I did that”, and “why didn’t I see that?”.
He offered an analysis along with the bloodied manuscript that both reminded me of where I was going with the story (and somehow had forgotten?) and offered suggestions of where I needed to get back on track. He showed me where I had fallen short with promises, and how I could breathe life back into the world and muscle that tension into doing its job.
I’m still trying to absorb it all. It’ll probably take a few days.
If you’re thinking about submitting stories and thinking about buying End of the Rainbow, check out Steve’s offer, which also has details on next year’s anthology theme. 🙂
Oh, and thanks Steve. It’s giong to be a few sleepless nights as I piece this puzzle together. 😀
It’s really important to always be looking for ways to improve. Something I haven’t done in a while is really think about the comments I and others have about my work; but I’m intending to get back into editing when I finish my current work in progress, namely because I think that, practice aside, I need to spend a little more time crafting each story to perfection.
Ah sweet perfection… 🙂 Good luck.
It is my feeling that everything gets both better and more specialized over time, barring a mass extinction event.
Also Writing improves too, I guess.
When it comes to critiques, a good Alpha Reader is worth a barrel of iron rations in the survivable post-apocalypse, but quantity-the casting of the ole’ net wide-is a good way to see what parts of the story were memorable (if not necessarily good).
Mass extinction… as my family who has never had allergies is learning how to live with them. Can the human race die from allergies? But aside from this event 🙂 this writing will hopefully continue getting better. Thanks for visiting, David. I hope you are well.