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Friday, November 9, 2007

How To Critique Your Work

You looked at the title, and said, "That's hard."
The first action, after you have completed it, is
to put aside the work. Read a book you meant to six
months ago, visit friends, make telephone calls, or
start a new topic. The longer projects require more
time away. Why? There is more to sift through,
correct, pull-out. You return refreshed, better able
to spot mistakes.

Check sentence structure. Are your sentences flowing
smoothly? Need a period? Comma? Read it out-loud. This
is how you learn to critique. Read it again, slowly.
Should a stronger verb replace a weaker one? Is a
sentence running on? Could a comma stop a run-on
sentence? Or, is it more effective to make two sentences?
Write like you talk.

Is your article or story dragging? Slice away any paragraph,
sentence, not contributing, or moving the story-line along.
Take a look at my example of bloated words. The door opened,
and the body rolled onto the street. The following heightens
the senses, grabs the attention. It an excerpt from my novel.

"Don't move." The shaved head dare taker told her.

She stayed, cried, and then abruptly stopped.

Silence filled the air. Grave Street House's door slowly
creaked open. The bloody, mutilated body was flung into the

"Help my sister," the young girl cried.

The above is taken directly from my novel, Grave Street House.
See the difference? Save unused paragraphs for another piece
of fiction or non-fiction. They hamper you today, but could
enhance a future work.

The focus from this point will be fiction, book length work.

It is necessary to develop an editor's eye. Yes, you can.

I have read books, and critiqued them. It helped me with my
own work. Still, it is harder to find your own mistakes. Again,
put aside finished work, and return to it. You gain a new
perspective. I found cann instead of can in a sentence of mine.
I did not realize the small error until I tucked it away in a
file, and opened it a couple weeks later.

Are the characters believable?

"How do I make my characters real?"

Profile each of them. It includes a speech pattern. A story person
pronounces that as dat? The main character is one that is liked,
readers feel a connection to, or care about. What are the
aspirations? Would anything or anyone stop a character from
reaching goals? Is there something in a personality causing a
character to act a certain way? Looks?

Knead in information sparingly. Let characters show what, who,
they are by interacting with other story people. Characters,
like human beings, have flaws. How many? You answer that
question. The story makes a comment on life through its theme.
It is something people felt, learned, realized after reading
the book. Plot is the problem, and how it unfolds tells the
story. The main character is challenged, at least, three times
before figuring out a solution.

The main character has conflict, struggle. Characters, too, learn
and grow. Show wisdom through a character's behavior. Present a
situation where the character behaves differently, better, or
stronger, for example. In long fiction, more than one problem
exists. All stories have a beginning, middle, and ending. I like
to see the problem happen in chapter one. This is where the
action starts.

Decide on a place and time for your setting. Will it be urban
America, rural area, corporate anywhere? Some writers research
a place they heard about for a setting. Follow the tips on how
to critique your work, and you are on the path to realizing a

Marcella Glenn is a freelance writer who has spent most of her
life writing. Her work includes dabbling into the world of poetry,
through her collection entitled, Piece Of Life, and participating in
the blogospere. She is no stranger to non-fiction, enjoys a
mix-n-match approach to intermingling characters from fiction,
as seen in her novel, Grave Street House, to non-fiction. She reshapes
them into becoming friends. Yet, they remain on the page awaiting her
next foray into their world.

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Marcella Glenn is a freelance writer who has written news reports, worked in an office, reviewed movies, published a newsletter and had her novel, "Grave Street House," published. She, too, is a Writing Consultant as well as a Personal Coach.

She has tried to go down some of life's other paths. A few paths were a mail-order business, the publishing of a pen-pal newsletter and selling plastic-ware. Only, she was back writing before realizing what she was doing.

She'd critique titles, paragraphs, news reports, that no one submitted to her. She'd stop herself, eventually. Marcella Glenn seemed to be enjoying the act of writing. This is how she knew writing was more than a hobby.

Let it be a lesson in your life too. Is writing calling your name? Or, acting? Teaching? Are you interested in engineering? Have the courage to go for your dreams. Simply, believe in yourself.

Meet Marcella Glenn on Twitter:

Grave Street House Interview
Authors Show Radio Announces Interview Lineup For Week Of February 16, 2009
Internet Radio features five new authors each week
February 16, 2009
Every week, The Authors Show, radio version features interviews with up and coming authors from around the world. This week The Authors Show radio features Marcella Glenn, author of  'Grave Street House'.

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