Category: For Writers


Wow– I wrote an opening comment today to two different people about critiquing and after reading it back I decided it would be appropriate to share. This is my opinion on reading/sharing/critiquing with other folks….

It’s nothing official, just how I approach the subject. Hopefully this approach might be useful or helpful to others..and if not..oh well 🙂 I tried!

I love reading work from other writers as much as I love writing and having people read my work!

As for my review/edits/critique– If I found anything which in my own humble opinion (which by the way is not necessarily “right” but rather just what I am thinking) was grammatically incorrect, perhaps has a missing word or is a bit confusing, I denote this with a comment (in Microsoft Word, using the comment feature, or in a text document I use square brackets to enclose a comment.)

I am by no means a professional writer(at least not yet) , editor, or critic, but I have had a lot of experience in the amateur space. I’ve been a member of a site called critiquecircle.com for several years where I have given and received tons of critiques on all sorts of work.

I’ve self-published a short story and have experienced the joy of someone loving my work and someone hating my work and someone who is just not sure what to make of my work! All of these experiences have moved me in a common way– in the direction to become a better writer!

One thing I have learned over the years is to be upfront about a review of someone else’s work and to explain what my perspective is when reviewing it. Anything I write about your work should just be taken as a suggestion and everything I write is meant to be in the spirit of being helpful, courteous and in the air of the greater good for all writers I make acquaintance with.

You do not have to take my suggestions of course, but overall I hope whatever I share with you is helpful and received positively!

If for any reason any of my comments or suggestions make you uncomfortable, please do let me know and if you rather I not continue on, please let me know that as well.

Again my aim is to be received positively and be helpful, but we are all humans and critique is not always well received.

So there you have it folks…my personal take on critiquing! 🙂

Keep writing!

Nick

Advertisements

Greetings! I hope you are having a lovely Sunday morning! Here in Long Island, NY the sun is shining, I’ve got a fresh cup of coffee and it looks like it’s going to be a great day! My first book, Silver Icon has been on sale for about a week now at both Amazon and Smashwords and I am so excited! I want to share some information to fellow writers about an awesome tool and web site that can help you with your goals to publish your own work. No, it’s not a publishing company, or any gimmick or trick. Also it’s not a magic wand!  What it is, however is a great place on the web to meet fellow authors and writers, both published and unpublished, and exchange critiques on each other’s work. I am talking about www.critiquecircle.com!

While I believe there is no substitution for professional editing, Critique Circle will come pretty damn close. And for the indie author on a tight budget, the price is right! Critique Circle’s membership is free! The site is a place where writers can post their work and other writers will critique your submissions. You can write critiques for other authors and form crit buddy relationships with many talented people. There is a “donation” method to become a premium member, but all of the main features of submitting and critiquing are available to all members. The premium membership, which is really a donation to keep the site running, gives you a few extra added perks, but is not required to get extreme value out of the site in regard to your work.

Critique Circle

The basic functions of the site include the ability to submit your chapters into one of the various Queues, classified by type of work or genre. The site works on a credit system. When you submit your work, it costs a minimum of three credits. When you write critiques on the work of others, you earn credits, anywhere from half a credit and up depending on the length of your critique. As other writers begin to critique your work, and as you critique other writer’s work, you’ll find buddies that can become regular crit partners! I’ve made several friends in the past two months and regularly write and receive critiques — almost daily. I’m a bit addicted to the site! 🙂

Critique Circle Submit Story

Many other useful features are available on Critique Circle. The site has a novel system, so you can chain your submissions together and crit buddies can follow your novel from start to finish. Authors can add a synopsis for their novel and for each chapter, content advisories for adult or mature stories, outlines for settings, plot and character sketches. The site also has a forum and message system so you can socialize with your fellow writers and crit partners.

Critique Circle Novel System

The credit system is nothing to worry about. I quickly became immersed in several of other author’s works, and in just reading, writing critiques and offering grammar or spelling suggestions, I very quickly grew a nice credit balance, enough to submit many chapters and stories. Since I started using the site, I’ve not ever run out of credits for submissions. I think I am actually critiquing more than I am submitting. I believe the main reason for this is because I am learning so much about writing, prose and style from the stories I read and the critique’s I have given other authors. This exchange from author to author is sharpening my writing skills as well as those of my crit buddies. The forums provide a lot of value too. For example, you can tie your story submissions to a personal forum thread–focused on that story so all your crit partners can collaborate with you and each other.

Critique Circle Forums

In summary; if you are an author on a budget, don’t have access to an editor, or just want to bounce your chapters, stories or other writing pieces off on other people to receive feedback and edit suggestions, Critique Circle’s an awesome web site to do all that! I highly recommend the site to indie authors and would absolutely welcome new critique partners!

For the official “What is Critique Circle About Page,” click here.

Happy Writing!

-Nick

To coin a phrase from my video gaming life, when it comes to writing and being an author, I’m a noob.  If you’re not familiar with the term noob, it can be thought of as an antonym for veteran or experienced or possibly even expert. I did not major in English, Literature, Grammar, Journalism or any other potentially related field to what I would expect a full-time writing career would require. I am making this up as I go along, with the help from a lot of people on the Internet. From Googling, to blogging to tweeting to FBing- i.e. via Social Networking and tapping into the minds and worlds of some wonderful people I am starting to figure this all out. I have become acquainted in cyberspace (mind you not face-to-face) with people from all over the world and have gathered some useful tips, sites and tools that hopefully will help me achieve my goals of self-publishing my work. I thought it only natural to share what I have learned along this journey so far and hopefully inspire, educate and help another “noob.” out.

The following is a short list of things, places, sites and tips I have discovered so far. If any of it helps you out, I’d love to hear it.

Book Covers

Book Covers. I didn’t realize how important and how expensive choosing or designing a book cover was until I start shopping for one! I found a few places online where you can tap into royalty-free images and use them for an eBook cover. There are several “Stock Photo” online sources that are good for Independent authors and self-publishers just starting out (like myself) Here are a few notable ones.

123 Royalty Free:  http://www.123rf.com
CanStockPhoto: http://www.canstockphoto.com
Dreamstime: http://www.dreamstime.com
Fotolia:  http://us.fotolia.com

Eye Color Chart

Describing your character’s eyes is important. Getting the color right is important too. There are tons of different resources you can find searching the Internet. Here is my favorite eye chart (http://eyemakeart.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/eye_colour_chart_by_delpigeon.jpg)

Name Generators

Seventh Sanctum is an awesome place if you are looking for a little random name generation. This applies to people, places, things, magic spells, organizations, governments, and whatever else you can think of. There are tons of name generatorslisted on this site.

Seventh Sanctum: http://www.seventhsanctum.com

Text Editors

I’ll assume in this day and age your main writing tool is a computer and not a typewriter. There are so many options to choose from to use a computer and a word processor to write with. I’ll summarize just a few of them here and note my favorite tool.

If you have access to a computer you basically don’t need to spend any money to start writing. The simplest tool you can use is the built-in text editor that comes with any PC running a Microsoft Windows operating system or any Apple computer running Max OS X.

In Windows you have two options. Notepad and Wordpad. Notepad is just a simple no frills text editor. Wordpad is essentially the same thing but it allows you to use basic rich text formatting (to make things bold, italic, centered, etc.) In Mac OSX you have TextEdit. There are also a ton of free programs you can get on the Internet as well. Just perform a google search for “free text editor” and you’ll see what I mean. Or on a Mac just go to the App Store and you’ll find several.

Word processors are the preferred tool for most writers. Modern word processors like Microsoft Word or Apple Pages will give you all of the basics the free text editors do plus a ton more formatting options and a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interface. The word processor is pretty much the standard tools of choice. However there are other tools that combine a writer’s goal of producing a well formatted manuscript and ensure proper grammar and error-free spelling and have all the benefits of a full-fledged word processor. There are other choices as mentioned above that you can find on the Internet. My editor of choice is Scrivener.  Basically it’s a full-fledged word processor but it also allows you to create an outline on a “cork board” like canvas. It helps me arrange my thoughts and plot my books before I even write a single line of the story. It also has the ability to compile your work to various formats, like ePUB (for Apple iBooks), .mobi (for Amazon Kindle), .PDF, .RTF, DOC.  It’s available for both Windows and Mac OS X. I prefer the Max OS X version as it has some more features that are not yet implemented in the Windows version.

HTML Editors

When you need to comment online and need a quick HTML editor, here’s an online one that works very well. It’s basic, but gets the job done. When your tags are all formatted correctly, you can just cut and paste! Online HTML Editor: http://www.onlinehtmleditor.net/

If you do not like to work online (i.e require an Internet connection, then you’ll need to download an HTML editor. Again, a good old “google” search will net you several free choices of HTML editors. (CoffeeCup, Bluefish two notable free HTML editors.) There are a bunch of paid choices as well but these tend to get very pricey very quickly as they are geared more toward web development rather than helping bloggers format their posts. Adobe Dreamweaver and Microsoft Visual Web (the evolution of Microsoft Frontpage) come to mind. (As of this writing, Visual Web Developer Express is a free, limited function but very usable offer from Microsoft.)

How many words makes my story a novel?

I am still not 100% sure about this one. There seems to be a lot of different opinions. However I did find a general reference guide that answers this and I think it is a good guideline to follow.

The best answer to this question I found was from author Lee Masterson of South Australia. The summary below is from Lee Masterson article- the full article is here ==>Click here for this article

Writing type Approximate word count (k=1000)
Short Story 1k -7.5k
Novelette  7.5k – 20k
Novella  20k – 50k
Novel  50k – 110k
Epics and Sequels > 110k

That’s all for now!

Well that’s about all of the tips, tools, advice, guides, etc that I have discovered so far. As I discover and use more I’ll update this post. I hope you find the information useful. If you have any questions or comments, please use the comment form here or use the global Contact Nick link at the top of the page.

Happy Writing!

-Nick

 

happy-new-year 2012Happy New Year! Well as 2012 rings in, my personal goal is to continue my quest to make a living (well part time anyway) by writing! I was intrigued by an email that was forwarded to me by a friend for a site that offered “Real Writing Jobs!” – I was pretty excited about it and quickly did a little investigation. I was pretty on board with it at first- after reading the initial welcome message and all, but then the “catch” reared its ugly head. They wanted a membership fee to join their site- just for the opportunity to browse their supposed “assignments” and “jobs.” Of course this immediately set a red flag in my head and after a bit of digging it was easy to see that this was a complete scam.

Since I didn’t want to star the New Year off on a negative note, I continued to do some “google” research to find some legit sites where I could get a bit of a jump start. My initial goal was to finally complete one of my books and  use Amazon.com’s Kindle self-publishing service- but quickly see that is probably more of a intermediate term goal. But still, I am looking to dip my feet in the water and found a few things that actually look promising. So without further ado, here is the list!

iwriter.com image

This site allows writers earn some cash by writing articles for other people. There is no registration fee and anyone can qualify. You can select the topics your interested in and decide how many articles you want to write and how often. The site is primarily aimed at creating content for web sites. Anything from product descriptions and reviews to blogging (Wow! imagine getting paid to blog!)

writeswap.comimage

The social networking ability of writeswap.com is pretty neat. Writeswap basically allows writers or people interested in purchasing content to essentially post a classified ad for a piece of work. You can then tweet it or share it on facebook. It’s an interesting take, and while you wont get rich here, it’s a potentially good way to get yourself small writing assignment, a deadline and start you off on the right track.

There are three other site I found that offer more general freelance opportunities. They range from technical jobs like programing and website design to content creation including writing articles, stories, product descriptions, editing and proof reading.

www.freelancer.comimage

Freelancer.com caters to programmers and designers, but they also offer content writer jobs. The jobs include academic writing, copy editing, eBooks and even article re-writing.

You can also check out www.peopleperhour.com and www.elance.com. I found that elance.com more geared to the technical opportunities (i.e. computer/programming projects), but since my other hobby is anything creative with a computer, I found it very useful as well. Peopleperhour.com also has a very broad range of freelance opportunities, but their writing opportunities include creative writing, content, article, and web content creation, copy editing and general editing.

Now I don’t think for a second that I’m going to get rich or even pay a bill or two utilizing these sites, but I do think that by signing up, browsing the assignments and maybe even completing a few, it will give me the opportunity to feel “published” or at least “accomplished” and above all grant me a little self confidence for the real longer term goal of completing that first novel. The way I see it, you have to start somewhere- and it’s never to late to start!

I hope someone else find’s this information useful. If you do, please let me know- I’d love to hear from you!

%d bloggers like this: