Thursday, October 24, 2013

Writing Tips: Critique Partners

Hey there readers! Life, as usual, is crazy in Casa Murillo and my blog has once again suffered for it. But I had a pretty interesting topic in mind for today that I wanted to write about so let's dive in!

Recently I posted an "ad," if you will, on the website howaboutwecp. This website is dedicated to making matches for writers in need of critique partners. I didn't hear anything back for a while and then this past weekend I received two emails asking if I was still interested in doing this. I was and I was thrilled! 

Let me just start by saying that when I posted that ad, I was soooooo nervous. I'd never critiqued anyone else's work before and never had anyone other than my sister read my own stories. Yes you read that right. Not even my husband has read my MSs! (he's not a reader AT ALL so I can't really trust his judgement anyway. But he WILL read them if/when I get published (;   ). 

As someone who researches EVERY aspect of writing and publishing, I know having critique partners is not only necessary but also invaluable to the creative and editing process. I was never against having critique partners but I was scared of putting myself out there. What if my writing sucked? For some reason it was just easier for me to edit to the best of my ability and send out queries. I standard 'no' from an agent was safer than detailed feedback from a critique partner. But then those 'nos' kept coming and eventually I wanted to know WHY?! What was I doing wrong?! Well, that's where those critique partners will come in handy. So after shelving my first MS (I'd had some interest but ultimately the market is too saturated with books with paranormal creatures and mine has faeries) I wrote another book, put my info up on howaboutwecp, and sent out my first batch of queries on my new MS. I've had some interest which is great but I really want this book to be 'the one' so I couldn't be happier that I now have two critique partners who can help me make this story the best it can be. 

My first critique partner sent her first chapter over this past weekend and I critiqued it and sent it back yesterday. I was nervous about this aspect of the story swapping process since I don't consider myself an expert on writing. But I do read A LOT so I ended up having more insight than I thought. Plus, I've always been pretty good at editing and with the added research and practice in editing I've gotten in my own writing endeavors, I was able to offer up a lot of tips in that area that were hopefully helpful. I really like her WIP and hope she lets me read some more (: And I'm excited to hear back from her and see what she thinks about my chapters too. My other new critique partner and I are going to be swapping MSs pretty soon as well and I can't tell you how excited I am for that!

Thanks for stopping by. Once this process really gets underway for me I will update you on how my critique partners and I are faring. See you soon!!

For me, writing is very personal. I often compare the feeling of talking about my stories and sharing them with others to what I imagine it would feel like to talk to strangers naked. I know, that's extreme, but letting someone inside your head is deeply intimate for me. It's something I know I need to overcome if I ever want to be a published author.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

New Book Releases

Hi all! It's been a while, I know. Things at Casa Murillo have been crazy with the kiddos well into school, me polishing and querying my second novel AND looking for a part-time job, and my hubs and I trying to decide if we want to move. As a result, my blog has suffered and for that I am sorry ): Anywho, here is a list of some YA books just released that you might enjoy. 

Unbreakable (The Legion) by Kami Garcia

Paranormal YA

Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles) by Lauren DeStefano

YA Fantasy

Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron

YA retelling

*I saw Jon at the Austin Teen Book Festival and he was super cool! Definitely a boy book I would read!

Fault Line by Christa Desir

Contemporary YA

*I read an interview about this book and how it's about a girl who is sexually assaulted at a party. It's told from her boyfriend's perspective as he watches her spiral downward. Seems like a powerful story! And half the proceeds of book sales go to Voices and Faces Survivor Testimonial Workshop (how awesome is that?!)

The Enchanter Heir (The Heir Chronicles #4) by Cinda Williams Chima

YA Fantasy

*I saw Cinda at Austin Teen Book Festival and she was sooo funny! My sister has read these books and highly recommends them!

Premeditated by Josin L. Mcquein

Contemporary YA

Just One Year (Just One Day #2) by Gayle Forman

Contemporary YA

Bang (Visions #2) by Lisa McMann

Paranormal YA

*I saw Lisa at Austin Teen Book Festival and she was highly entertaining and very personable. I've read almost all of her books.

Whew! That's all for now. As always, this is not a comprehensive list of newly released books, just the ones I will probably read and thought you might enjoy. Feel free to comment below and let me know if you've read any of these and what you think (: