That Moment

I never get tired of watching inspirational videos of Olympic highlights. There’s something really amazing about watching the faces of these athletes who’ve worked so hard, for so long, and the moment they realize they just won.  I love when a skater or skier or snowboarder turns around to search for the scoreboard, or the face of a coach, and their eyes take it in — and you can see the exact moment it occurs to them. … pure joy.


How to Find a Critique Partner

One of the interesting things that came up in comments the other day when we were talking about how we critique was that many seemed to think having a one-on-one critique partner is best.

I can’t really speak to any other option, because I’ve never been part of a critique group, but I do recall my friend Hank once warning me against them. I was about 23, and he was about 55, and he was a senior editor at a previous job. I leaned on every one of his words as if they were gospel. (And he deserved the adoration, if I must say, because he was great with words.) 

Anyway, when I told him I was writing fiction in my free time, he pulled me aside and said, “Whatever you do, don’t join a critique group. Find a partner.” Hank was not always a serious guy, but he was serious about this – as if he were warning me against muggers or crooked IRS agents. I asked why the sudden death grip on my elbow, and he admitted he’d been having trouble with his own group. He pointed out that even though you get six to 10 people reading your stuff, and giving you feedback, you also must invest the time to read the material of those same six or 10 people … every month. And by the time you finish editing, critiquing, unraveling plot holes for all these other people, you often have no time left for your own book.

Huh. … Continue reading

How Do You Critique?

So my friend Patti and I are critiquing the hell out of her story. …

I’ve spent the last several weekends on her book – I’m holed up in front of my computer, and my brother-in-law keeps coming by and asking if I’ve seen the light of day yet. But it’s a lot of fun. (And she returns in kind, by the way – she’s given me some of the best advice I’ve ever received on my books.)

Writers — Do you have a great critique partner? How do you help each other?

Readers — Have you ever critiqued for someone? Or maybe done a beta-read? What do you like to read for most — theme? characterization? plot holes? something else?

Please share! I love to hear others’ experiences!

The Story of Baby

You’d think, after three children, I’d have this mothering thing down pat a little better, and yet I continuously misjudge my youngest son. Experienced parents will agree with me here, but each child is just so different. And what works for one child may not work for another. And blah, blah, blah. … Excuses abound. …

But here’s how I misjudged my son most recently: It all involved three huge misconceptions: (1) that little boys don’t feel attached to toys anymore, (2) the forgotten power and reality of unconditional love, (3) the betrayal of a mother who is always supposed to have your back, and (4) the long-forgotten truism that little pitchers truly do have big ears. …

One night, a couple of years ago, when all my book club friends were over at my house, one friend plopped onto my couch and accidentally found herself perched upon the rubber carcass of what once had been a baby doll, but whose soft, hollow hands were missing. She pulled it out from under her. Startled, she took a closer look and peered at its misshapen little body, at it’s missing hands and toes, at the ballpoint pen marks over its torso. And then … She gasped.

“Oh, I know,” I said, sliding the dessert platter between the coffee cups on the coffee table. “That’s Baby. It’s Nathan’s. He’s had it almost since he was born.” Continue reading

Happy President’s Day!

What a great day off! A free day with absolutely no obligations! (Except maybe hitting that mall sale. …)

I posted a little quiz over on Health Bistro today about the presidents. I asked only seven questions, but I bet you can’t answer them! Here are the questions:

  • Why did people celebrate this day on two different days (Feb. 11 and Feb. 22) even when it originated in 1796?
  • Who first lived in the White House?
  • Which president had a pony named Macaroni?
  • What year did “Washington’s Birthday” get moved to a Monday and become “President’s Day”? (Hint: Most of you were probably alive when it happened.)
  • Why is Barack Obama called the 44th president when there have only been 43 presidents?
  • Which president was born on the 4th of July? Who died on July 4th?
  • How many presidential libraries exist in the country?
  • Do you know any of the answers? Swing by Health Bistro: 7 Fun Presidential Facts for the answers!

    What do you do on President’s Day? Is it snowing where you are? It’s really a glorious day here in So. Cal. …

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