Share Your Writing for Review

Today I’m going to conduct an experiment. My husband Pete has been telling me about this idea of his for quite some time and I have ignored him…until now.

How about if we, as writers (and aspiring writers) in an internet community, post various things we have written so that we can critique each other? I am thinking of posting the first chapter of the manuscript I just completed. If we open ourselves to helpful criticism, who knows? We might get the input we need to polish our work, get it submitted, and actually get it published. Wouldn’t that be a novel idea? (Pun intended.)

So, I invite you to post your manuscript’s opening paragraphs as a way to get started. (Anything more than that is too long to really edit in a comment line.)

I’m looking forward to reading other people’s chapters or sections…or whatever happens to show up on this site. Of course, if there’s anything horribly inappropriate, I will not allow it to post here. I am a Christian writer, after all…and, although I do believe we should be writing for the general public, as well as the Christian market, I don’t want anything in poor taste to be posted on this site.

Thanks for…whatever may happen here!

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6 thoughts on “Share Your Writing for Review

  1. Thanks for leaving a comment and sharing your work here, Emilie!
    My favorite line from what you’ve written is this: “I live in the middle of predictable.” I like it so much, I’d put it at the top as your opening line and then add more active “showing,” rather than “telling” description from there. Here’s an example of how I might rework all three of your paragraphs:
    I live in the middle of predictable. I’ve lived in this small town all my life. I was born here. Now I’m beginning to think I’ll die here.

    Look up “predictable” in the dictionary and I swear you’ll find a picture of my town right there under the phonetic spelling—a tiny black and white of our “Welcome to Howards Grove” sign in all its tattered, worn-out glory.

    I tread the rain-washed, rock salt-pitted sidewalk past the hardware store. The cool, fresh morning air rushes through the many trees that march like soldiers up Main Street to the Fifties-style diner on the corner.

    “Hey, Alice!”

    It’s Fred, our neighborhood aluminum can gatherer, out on his morning rounds. I shout a return greeting to him. Practically everyone In Howards Grove knows everyone else by name.

    I watch Fred from the corner of my eye and feel my mood sinking. Maybe exciting things never happen to me because I live here…in the middle of predictable.

    The way you wrote it isn’t wrong, of course. I have merely condensed some of it and spread out other parts it into an opening that reads at a more dramatic, if not slightly faster, more engaging clip—mainly because it does more “showing” than “telling.”

    Put yourself into the action of the story. Be your character. What is she doing? What is she feeling? What is she seeing? Also, don’t tell your reader everything. Give enough hints to keep him/her guessing and wondering without causing undue frustration.

    Thanks for being willing to share you writing. I almost forgot how much fun editing can be!

    Keep writing!

  2. I’m finally getting around to this 🙂 Here is the first small little section of one of my novels – thoughts?

    Chapter 1

    My name is Alice and I’ve lived in a small town all my life. In fact, I was born in this town, and I’m beginning to think I’ll die in this town.
    It’s been a great place to live – lots of trees, fresh air, and practically everyone knows your name – but lately I’ve found myself wanting more. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not greedy, and I’ve never felt I deserve more, but I have realized exciting things never happen to me because I live in the middle of predictable.
    If you were to look up predictable in the dictionary I swear you’d find a picture of my town. Right there under the phonetic spelling would be a tiny black and white of the “Welcome to Howards Grove” sign in all its tattered and worn-out glory. Subsequent pictures of the towns “attractions” like the hardware store on Main Street or the fifties style diner off of Third would follow. The dictionary company would have it easy though because these photos would never need to be updated due to lack of change.

  3. Example:

    Good start. I’d edit these paragraphs to include fewer words, leaving more to the reader’s imagination. Here’s what you wrote:

    A cool wind blew colorful leaves in dust devil swirls and swept clouds across an azure sky. It whipped her fitted, navy wool skirt and threatened to unpin her pheasant-feathered hat.

    I’d suggest:

    The autumn wind blew leaves in dust devil swirls, sweeping clouds across an azure sky, whipping her fitted, navy wool skirt.

  4. “Forgive the Rain,”

    A Gentle Historical Romance

    Etna Mills, California, September 1893

    With each step upon the wooden boardwalk, she could feel the pounding of an imaginary clock in her head. A cool wind blew colorful leaves in dust devil swirls and swept clouds across an azure sky. It whipped her fitted, navy wool skirt and threatened to unpin her pheasant-feathered hat.

    Seventeen-year-old Victoria Garrett clutched the envelopes in both hands, squeezing them against her narrow waist and imagining what it would be like to drop them and see them carried up Etna Mills’ broad, dusty Main Street to some stranger or lost altogether. She had to mail these letters before the postal carrier arrived at noon—before she had a chance to change her mind.

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