Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Okay...let's duke this out like, er...writers...
This week marks the approximate halfway point for DL Hammons' fabulous WRITE CLUB!
For those unfamiliar with it, the contest is a cross between Jane Austen and Joe Frazier, with each week pitting two authors' best 500 word submissions against each other. Yes, that's right--two go into the ring but only one comes out alive...sort of like sorority girls at a Cole Haan on Black Friday...except with higher IQs.
The first few rounds have been quite the learning experience and a lot of fun if you overlook the devastation that one-on-one combat like this leaves behind. It's always fascinating to see what type of entries appeal to a wide audience. Many of the voters leave comments or critiques and it is always a difficult task to weigh each critique against that inner voice which tells you which critiques are hogwash and which ones should be followed. One of the best bits of advice I ever heard was from Patricia Lee Gauch at the Highlights Children's Book Writers conference in Chautauqua. She is probably the most knowledgeable children's book editor I've ever heard whose critiquing skills I would gladly kidnap her for. (No really, if she weren't so likable I would, without hesitation, impersonate her mailman, pack her into a customized padded mailtruck and keep her trussed up in my attic, exchanging a daily foot-long sub for honest critiques whenever I needed them.) Hmmm....I probably shouldn't have written that... Anyways, she spoke of the importance of being a confident writer: one who knows when to follow rules and when to break them. It is a difficult thing to do, turning off that I-am-a-crappy-writer-and-everyone-knows-so-much-more-than-me-and-probably-laughs-at my efforts-behind-my-back part of your brain and listen to that small squeaky voice that says "but I really think it sound better this way...."
This is one of the benefits of the Write Club experience. You get a larger pool of book lovers to read your work and from the responses you can often see similarities in some of the critiques and thus learn whether you are being confident or clueless...all this without the inconvenient daily trip to Subway and the expense of renting a postal truck.
Hats off to DL Hammons for putting such a lot of work and effort into this blog contest, and if you haven't visited his site yet, click here and get ready to inhale the sweat and blood as two writers duke it out old school.