October 1, 2018 · 12:10 AM
“Welcome to October at the writing cabin, and I’m here in the kitchen with my robot assistant, Miss Lisa Burton. Today we’re baking up a batch of Macabre Macaroni.
“Now, I’ve already boiled up the pasta and put it in a colander to drain. Lisa, can you pass me the butter to grease our casserole dish?”
“Hang on, I’m still getting my costume on. It takes time to be a fashion plate you know?”
“What seems to be the holdup?”
“I’m trying to get these stitches right. Can you pass me the purple marker? They ought to bruise a bit around the edges.”
“I, um, I can’t find it. Is it one of the ones in your left hand?”
“Oh yeah. I didn’t think I’d used it already. It’s important to look scary for Halloween.”
“Yeah, um. Scary wasn’t my first thought here.”
“Well, I’m not finished yet either. Just go cook your stuff and I’ll join you in a minute.”
It’s October, and that means Macabre Macaroni. These are my name for bits of micro-fiction with a Halloween theme. I run this every year, and I hope you enjoy them. They’ll post every Tuesday this month. I look forward to hearing what everyone thinks.
Note: I posted Lisa’s poster at full size here. Some people collect them and this is the one to download. I’ll size it down for the weekly stories.
January 12, 2015 · 4:54 PM
Let’s get galvanized
This is a cool word with several definitions. Today I want to take advantage of them.
past tense: galvanized; past participle: galvanized
shock or excite (someone), typically into taking action.
“the urgency of his voice galvanized them into action”
coat (iron or steel) with a protective layer of zinc.
“an old galvanized bucket”
We’ll take the second one first. I like this word to describe authors. We are all vulnerable when we share our first work with someone. Our parents like it, and we breathe a sigh of relief. Maybe a close friend says he/she likes it. Then it becomes time to share it with strangers.
Maybe you join a critique group, like I did. Maybe you hire someone to edit it, or take on a mentor. You’re about to get galvanized. We have to hear critical things and learn from them. It’s the only way we get better. This protective layer is best applied here. You don’t want your first experience to be in the form of a review.
My critique group is brutal. We all treat each other the same way, and we get along well. We’re all better writers than when we started. We’re all properly galvanized.
I encourage all writers to get this kind of feedback. I still get bruised from time to time, but my protective layer is building up. Yours will too. I’m sure I delivered a bruise or two in my day as well. (But it was all handled face to face, and I didn’t blog about them.)
Now let’s deal with the first definition.
Reviews are the author’s lifeblood. This is even more important for the indie authors out there. I vow to post reviews of the books I read from now on. It’s easy to move on to the next project, but Amazon prompts me at the end of every book. It’s pretty easy to add a couple of lines right then and there. Reviews don’t have to be long or extremely detailed.
My goal is to galvanize you into action. Nobody likes to get trashed in a review. It happens, but we can say critical things without being mean to one another. We can also enjoy a book without gushing to the point that it looks like a fake. There is a reason for the stars between one and five.
For myself, there are blog followers who said they enjoyed my books, but I’ve never seen a review. Do authors watch? You bet we do. I know of one Wild Concept, three Panama’s, and one Arson who’ve dropped me a comment or line. All of these folks said they enjoyed the stories. (The Cock of the South is still on a lot of reading lists, and it’s too new.)
For myself, I’m posting reviews from now on. I haven’t always done it, and I’ve never posted one for a traditionally published book. That all changes today. I’m a big believer in walking the walk. Won’t you join me?
- Writers should seek out critical feedback, and start building up that protective layer.
- Readers should consider leaving reviews. They are what allows writers to keep writing.
PS: Okay, there is a third definition. It involves electricity and muscle tissue. I left off twitching frog’s legs and Frankenstein on purpose, but you can talk about them in the comments.
Filed under Writing
Tagged as Arson, call to action, critique, feedback, Frankenstein, Panama, reading, reviews, The Cock of the South, thick skin, Wild Concept, writing