Tension and Contests

I might not have posted since October, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. In February I entered a flash fiction writing contest. It’s the first contest I’ve ever entered and I’m nervously/excitedly waiting for feedback from the judges. Women on Writing (wow-womenonwriting.com) hosts quarterly contests, the entry fee is only $10 to cover their costs and prizes. You can also buy a critique of the story which is another $10. So, for a grand total of $20 I’ll get feedback on my story and it’s entered in a contest.

In other writing news, I put my rough draft fantasy novel on the shelf and I am expanding the flash fiction story into something longer. I’m not sure how that’s going to change the story but it has psychological thriller tension that I’m cautiously outlining. I’m nervous about getting too hopeful because I’ve had issues with tension throughout an entire story before. It seems to be going well so here’s hoping.

When you write tension how do you track it?  I’m working with outlines but I’ve heard about people using spreadsheets and sticky notes. What works for you?

Critiquing the Critique

A big hello to any of the Monkeys with Red Pens – that’s the critique group I spent two hours with this evening.  We meet at the Bayou Bakery, great coffee!  Saying that, I am not a habitual coffee drinker but it was completely necessary today (lots going on at work).  There were five individuals at the meeting who commented on my 11,000 word submission from two weeks ago.  Did I mention I was nervous?  Because I was, complete with a fluttering stomach and jittering legs.  On second thought, the jitters might have been because of the coffee – perhaps a nervous moment is not a good time to inhale a caffeinated beverage.

We started with another writers work, I really enjoyed reading it.  More modern than what I write but very interesting.  We had a great discussion about the characters and their motivations.  Then the pause as we watch the camera zoom in.  There I sit, empty coffee cup in hand, wondering “what did they think?”  A momentary pause, I wait with bated breath.  Remember that heart and head I handed them?  Well, thankfully they left the guillotine at home.

Over all the feedback was very helpful.  Nothing to worry about!  I have some great ideas stemming from the conversation on what to watch out for within my writing.  Apparently a few words I use are a little jarring, which is a fair observation.   There were a lot more conversations which occurred and I enjoyed listening to everyone discuss what they thought was going on.  I have to clarify my religions in my writing.  There’s so much to get across that I held back a little too much there.  I’ll have to evaluate the scenes and find a place to enhance the description.  If you want instant motivation find a critique group.

What makes a critique helpful to you?  What do you like in Critter and what is unhelpful? Image