Category Archives: critique

Where have I been? What have I been doing?

Well, life has a tendency to get in my way, and, unfortunately, the blog is the first thing that gets slighted.

I have been working quite a bit at Babies R Us and may be in line for a promotion.

I have been writing, and rewriting, and editing.

INFECTED us getting rewritten from the beginning now that I know a bit more about writing than I used to. This time it is in 1st person past. I have chapter 1 fully outlined in my new formula of writing and it should be written by Wed night.

PROPHECY is also getting a do-over, switching to past tense. Seven full chapters are completed.

A QUESTION OF CHANGE is in the researching part of writing as I learn more about zoology and a specific park that is near me. Although under a different name, Maymont Park in Richmond, VA is the setting in the novel, with some small modifications.

WHITE DARKNESS also known by the name RAFTER MONSTER is still in the brain storming stage.

June 1st begins the Speculative Fiction Marathon where INFECTED and PROPHECY will be undergoing critiques. For 12 weeks, one chapter a week will be critiqued by other spec-fic members. It is a thrilling and exhausting time.

I am also a contributing blogger for dragons and aliens and wraiths oh my a blog for speculative fiction authors, by speculative fiction authors. My first post is live.

After Marathon I will be publishing serials from authors I know. A chapter a week is the goal right now. Hopefully my fellow spec-fic members come through like they said they would! Thanks for already having segments done TJ!

So I will be better on letting you guys know where everything stands in the future. At least things are getting back under control.

Always,

Dawn

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Filed under Agent Query Connect, author, crazy, crit, critique, critiquing, story, thinking process, work in progress, writing process

Wanted: Alpha/Beta Readers Get the Scoop on my WIP

Okay, so today I am going to shake things up a bit. I am not going to talk about the process of writing. So, if that is what you are looking for, you might as well stop here.

Today I have two things I want to accomplish with this blog: My Contest, and gaining Alpha/Beta readers

Let’s start with the readers.

I have mentioned in the past that i am working on a Paranormal Horror. Well, my deep outline is complete. Let me explain my process so you know what I mean.

1) I create characters, setting, and a story

2) I do a quick synopsis on each Chapter/Scene (a paragraph, good for the official synopsis as well)

3) I do a detailed version of the Chapter/Scene (Usually 2-4 pages long)

4) I “Red Line Edit” or “Red Edit” the Chapter. (I literally go through the detailed version and replace adverbs, tense problems and add descriptions)

5) The rewrite using the “Red Edits”

6) Alpha/Beta readers. (I call them both because the draft I have at this point is more than a first draft, but less than a final draft)

7) Rewrites from feedback

8) Submit

Okay, so I am starting on #6 right now, looking for readers to go through chapter by chapter looking for flow problems, dialog issues, etc.

So if you can help me out, I will be glad to return the favor AND you get a first look at my WIP!

So, my friends, please let me know if you can do this version of critique for me. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!!

Just let me know via email dawn.grogg@gmail.com

Now the real pimping begins!

You only have 7 days left to enter my flash fiction contest! I am accepting all fantasy and paranormal at this time, because as in my previous post I believe they go hand-in-hand in the world of writing.

So get the entries in and win a prize! dawnsparrowflashcontest@gmail.com

Thanks to all my followers, you guys are a fabulous bunch!!

Always,

Dawn

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Filed under author, award, contest, critique, editing, flash fiction, paranormal, work in progress

I can’t believe I’m doing this! Intro scene for WIP

Well, here it is, the first scene in my new WIP. It is still a bit rough, of course, but I would love some opinions.

It is a paranormal horror piece and, yes, it is all told in this POV.

I better get this posted before I lose all my nerve.

Tentative Title: The Green Ones

Chapter 1

I slide out the back door, looking cautiously at the woods behind the house. The whispers are silent today. I head over to Amos’ pen and quickly unlatch the door.

“Come here, boy!”

The black and white hound bounds out the gate and jumps up on me, knocking me to the ground, giggling. The newly cut grass is prickly against my bare arms and legs while his goofy face looks down at me as he licks the side of my face. I take a moment to look up at the puffy white clouds that float through the brilliant blue sky. It is a day to enjoy, a day to live life to the fullest. And I want to run around!

I struggle to get Amos off me, once more cursing the fact that although my mind is that of an adult, my body is still that of a five-and-a-half-year old.

He knows what I want. He backs off, still wagging his long tail, and allows me to stand.

“You’re a good boy, Amos.” I pat his back and give him a quick hug, his fur soft against my face, as I smell the doggie goodness of his body.

Suddenly, I hear it again. The whispering of the green leaves in the woods.

Amos jumps over my head and stares into the woods, growling. He must be able to hear it too, although no one else ever has. Certainly, Momma and Daddy have never reacted to it before.

Words start to creep through the breezy sounds, words I hear not just with my ears, but also with my heart.

“Scottie, come to us.”

“It is your destiny.”

“We are as you are.”

“You will be treasured among us.”

“You are the child we have been waiting for.”

“The child of prophecy.”

The words overlap and merge into a breathy kind of silence, yet they all reach inside of me, tugging at my senses. They seem to know how I yearn for acceptance for who I am, not the child my mother wants me to be, or the prodigy my father thinks I am. I am unique in every way, and I know that. There is something more waiting for me than just any average child.

I step away from Amos’ rigid figure and move closer to the trees. I want to enter the woods and surrender myself to the voices. I move as though in slow motion, each step careful, but strong.

I break into a run, charging toward the woods. Amos tries to get in front of me, but I push him out-of-the-way, my arms stronger than ever before. The old hound dog barks sharply, and then I feel warm, familiar arms sweep me up.

“Scottie, just where do you think you are going? Silly little guy. If I hadn’t heard you playing with Amos, I wouldn’t have known where you are!”

“Momma, please let me down. I want to go to the woods.” I look into her beautiful chocolate-brown eyes, pleadingly.

Her eyes cloud over with worry as she asks me, “Why, Scottie? Why would you ever want to go into the woods?” She holds me closer, and takes several steps backward, away from the trees and toward the house. She almost stumbles in her haste.

“The trees, Momma they call to me. I want to go into them.”

“Cherie, Scottie? Are you two out back?”

My mother sighs in relief as my father calls out from the driveway, and says, “Jackson, we are back here!”

Daddy comes walking around the corner of the house, his golden hair shining in the sunlight. His smile so bright, I can’t help but grin in return.

“What are my two favorite people in the world doing this afternoon?” Daddy’s voice is warm as honey and so inviting that I wriggle out of Mamma’s arms and rush to his side.

Just as he always does, Daddy scoops me up in his arms and holds me up higher than his head before wrapping me in a warm hug. He is my favorite person in the world.

“And just what have you been doing, scamp? Running around with Amos, I bet!”

“Oh yes, Daddy. And listening to the woods.”

Daddy’s eyebrows raise and he looks a bit worried.

“Listening to the woods, Scottie? That is an odd thing to say.”

Momma speaks up. “Jackson, I caught him trying to go into the woods today. I was just getting ready to take him inside.”

“Is what you mother’s saying true?”

“Well, yes, Daddy. The woods call to me. I want to walk under the green trees, smell the soil, and talk to the wind.”

Daddy’s forehead pinched together into a fierce line. He looks more worried now than before. I reach up and try and smooth it away.

“Daddy, don’t look so anxious. I would be okay. The woods want me there.”

He looks over my head at Momma, and they exchange a look they don’t think I can see.

“That’s not the point, Scottie,” Mamma says. “It is dangerous in the woods, and there are many hidden dangers there of which you know nothing.”

Her words are more formal than normal, almost as though she is reciting something she had memorized long ago. I looked at her, questioningly. There is definitely something she isn’t telling me.

“What do you mean? I know the woods won’t hurt me. They told me so.”

“Okay, let’s go inside,” Daddy says, carrying me to the back door.

I try to get down from his arms, but he holds me tightly, and refuses to let me down when I tell him to.

“Scottie, stop squirming!”

I stop moving, but frown as Daddy carries me inside.

 okay, advice? criticism? does it hook? is it crap? give me something, dear readers!

Always,

Dawn

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Filed under author, critique, editing, novel, paranormal, work in progress, writing

Write Something With Lots of Feeling

Write some back home, come on writing

That comes from the heart

Write somethin’ with lots of feelin’

‘Cause that’s where writing has to start

— corrupted version of “Mountain Music” by Alabama (sorry guys!)

If there is one thing I have noticed, it is that when I read something, anything, I want to feel it inside. I don’t want a clinical blow-by-blow description os the way someone’s hair blows unless that makes me want to run my fingers through it, or something like that.

So writers, I beg you, I  implore you, please watch the info dumps and the lengthy in-depth descriptions of a single action. It is a really great way to get me to put your book down and not pick it up again. I know some people will disagree with me about this, and there are some Masters who do it, but I can’t read it. I need to be able to feel your characters.

One other things, keep your character’s development consistent. Don’t have them do something out of character. I just pisses me off and makes me want to throw the book at the wall.

I have an example.

FLESH EATERS – by Joe McKinney

Great book, until the last few pages when the MC takes the money that was in the bank. (Sorry for the spoiler) It is just not consistent with her character. The book left a mark on my wall. And another one when my husband read it. Not good form Mr. McKinney.

Anyway, that’s all the time I have for ramblings today. I still have a lot of writing to do AND I am working on an in-depth crit for someone.

Always,

Dawn

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Filed under author, character traits, characters, conflict, crit, critique, editing, feeling, growing, ideas, novel, paranormal, rules, story, Thriller, Writer, writing, Writing a Paranormal Novel, writing novels, writing process

Shelving a Manuscript

If you’ve been writing a while, you know what this is all about. It is taking a piece of work you have finished (or almost finished) and putting it aside.

This is different from trunking a novel. When you trunk it, it may never see the light of day again. But, by shelving it,you are merely letting it sit, like a pot of soup simmering on the back of the stove.

Well, right now I am in this position.

My Manuscript INFECTED is not getting the reviews I want for it. And I think I know the reason. It isn’t ready, but I have been staring at it too long. So, on the shelf it goes.

Does this mean that I am not going to write? Or maybe only write short stories or flash fiction (under 1000 words)?

No.

I am already working on a second novel that was originally slated to be the sequel of INFECTED. I am changing it into a stand alone novel. I think this may actually be the better way to go, to be honest.

One of the things I have the most trouble with is making the romantic relationship between my two main characters seem real.

I don’t have that problem in the ‘sequel’. It is about the former MC’s son. A two-year-old boy with the mind of a 25-year-old. He has the blood and soul of a green one. hence the title GREEN ONES. He is an object of their prophecies. But no more spoilers for you!

I think one of the reasons this will be a better fit for me right now, is that there are no romantic elements in the main story. It is told from the child’s point of view. (Have I mentioned he has the mind of a 25-year-old).

This thriller/horror is going to be my main project for the next three months. (That’s usually how long it takes me to rough out a novel). Then time for edits, and beta reads, and edits, and more edits, and crits, and edits, and even more edits. Occasionally I will also be playing with INFECTED to turn it into a prequel. Should be an interesting time for a bit!

Wish me luck!

Always,

Dawn

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Filed under author, character traits, characters, conflict, crazy, crit, critique, critiquing, editing, growing, ideas, inspiration, learning, love, novel, story, thinking process, voice, writing, writing process

I Know What I Was Feeling, But What Was I Thinking?

Okay, so those of you who follow my blog know that I have not posted for a long time (like 2 weeks or something). There is a reason.

Between marathon critiques, rewriting my own manuscript, taking care of my son and husband, and being an animal parent, I was getting completely overwhelmed. I no longer wanted to do any writing. IN ANY SHAPE OR FORM!

I said to myself, “Dawn” (because I do talk to myself this way) “Dawn, you need to just stop.” Of course I answered myself, “How can I stop? I have too much work to do.” Then came the “I’ll make you a deal,” (yes this really is the way I do it) “Go one week without typing anything out. No crits, no editing, no rewriting, no blogging, not nothing. Oh and don’t even read about writing, just read for fun!”

Well after a bunch more internal debate (of which I will spare you, dear reader) I decided that from Saturday til Saturday I would do just that. NOTHING. Nothing on writing. I even stopped (almost) Tweeting! Yes shocking, for those of you who know me from Twitter.

So that was my feeling as I went into what seemed to be the longest week of my life. Yeah, I know what I was feeling, but what was I thinking??

In this week, and yes I did manage to make it through the whole dang week, I realized a few things.

1) (Have you noticed I like to make lists? Hmmm, must be the scientist in me)

Anyway 1) I’m a writer. I guess I knew this before, but I really noticed it when I was having to FORCE myself not to write.

2) Vacations can suck. Especially when it is a vacation from something you love.

3)Vacations are great for clearing the mind. I don’t think I have ever had so many ideas for stories and improvements on stories as I have this week. This being said, not being able to write them, sucks.

So what was I thinking to take a full week off? I have no idea, but it did give me the perspective to realize that I WANT to write, I NEED to write and that even if I am not a GOOD writer, I AM a writer.

Always,

Dawn

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Filed under author, conflict, crazy, crit, critique, critiquing, editing, growing, ideas, inspiration, learning, love, novel, story, thinking process, writing, writing process

God is Great. Beer is Good. And Writers are Crazy.

God is Great. Beer is Good. And People are Crazy.

Well okay, in my case, God is great, margaritas are good, and people are crazy, but you get the idea.

The most important of these for the purpose of this blog, is that People are crazy!

Okay, all people are crazy, if you haven’t figured that out by now, you haven’t lived among people.

But authors/writers of all sorts are among he craziest people who exist! Especially fiction writers.

Think about it. These people create worlds and situations they have never actually seen before, except for in their imagination. These amazing people can take two (or more) unrelated things and create a story that others actually want to read.

The best example I can think of is the way my thought processes work. I know a middle school librarian (BigBlackCat97) who has to erase the penises that middle school boys draw in the back of the dictionary. (Middle school boys all think that they are soooo original!)  Okay, so simple situation right? Does it bring anything to mind for you? It does to me, a great short story idea. See if you can follow my thought processes.

Okay, so the librarian has to erase the penises….what if the REAL penises of the boys are erased too? What chaos!! But wait, there’s more…

What if a shy little girl, just entering middle school wants to fit in with the ‘in crowd’? What if they dare her to draw a penis in the dictionary. And she does. What would happen to HER when her penis was erased?

How would the girl act? How would the librarian act? Is the librarian a witch who casts a spell to get back at all the boys who are defacing her precious tome? How would the principal act? The school board? The other students?

Fill in the blanks and you have a story. It could be a really wonderful one, full of humor, or it could be a macabre piece of horror. The choice is with te writer. Shoot, I don’t even know, because I haven’t actually written this story yet! But the ideas are there.

I really believe that the people who write, and write well, are often a bit cracked. It takes a warped personality to sit hour by hour at a laptop or other computer and muse over a single sentence, a single word, in order to get the meaning across from them to the reader. (I know, very convoluted sentence). These same people slave for months, often years, just to get their story to where they want it to be. Then they have to try to convince other people (agents specifically) to read it. And since that is a hit-or-miss proposition it may take years as well. Then the writer has to edit according to the dictates of the agent/editor/publisher, in order for it to be considered for publication. Then wait. And wait. And wait. Until someone says that the story is good enough, the edits are complete enough and everyone is pleased with the work.

Now understand this….all of the above work, editing, reviewing, and work (yes I said work twice) is done…get this…FOR FREE!

Writers devote their time to making a finished manuscript, short story, ect without being paid. For years. That’s right, years. How is that NOT crazy?

Why do we do it? Well it obviously is not for the money! It is because of the love for the crafted word, because there is a song in our hearts that needs to be sung. A story that needs to be told. Regardless of how long the MS might sit on the shelf while other works are in progress, it is still in the writer’s heart, and still needs to be told. I don’t know any writers who just throw a piece of work away. It just gets filed away to be played with again another time.

Anyway, this is just a small case to point out that the greatest community in the world, the writer community, is a bunch of crackpots. Myself included, of course!

Always,

Dawn

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