Critiquing Guidelines via Edie Hemingway

I blogged recently about the value of receiving critiques as a writer. I then fortunately received the following guidelines from co-Regional Advisor of the Maryland-Delaware-West Virginia Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Edie Hemingway, on giving critiques. Edie graciously agreed to let me share these tips in my blog as a follow-up to my last post.

In Edie’s words, “I put these together when I started teaching my own workshops, based on my experiences ‘workshopping’ during my MFA program at Spalding University. I’ll also be using them for the online course I’m teaching this summer for McDaniel College’s graduate certificate program in Writing for Children and Young Adults.”

Edie Hemingway is the author of Road to Tater Hill
(Delacorte Press and Yearling paperback), winner of a 2009 Parents’ Choice Gold Award, and besides writing, teaches several writing workshops. If you’d like to find out more about her and her programs, she can be reached at
http://www.ediehemingway.com

This is a great list for those who belong to a critique group or plan on joining one. As Edie suggests, these are also useful during the revision process.

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Judging a Writing Competition

Children's Writing Competition Poster I just participated as a judge in the first annual Voice For The Horse Children’s Writing Competition, on the topic of “Wild Horses.”  The founder of Voice For The Horse, Yvonne Allen, created the competition to provide an educational opportunity and to allow children to share their love for horses through their written words.  I agreed to be a judge for several reasons, but primarily because I felt a need to “give back,” and to encourage our next generation of writers.  Each entry inspired me — each a unique voice.  The children demonstrated dedication, passion, and a willingness to take a chance.  I loved their spirit. [Read more…]

Written in the Margins

I break all the rules of what is considered “good” blogging. I don’t stick to one theme; my subjects are all over the place. I don’t incessantly “market” (polite word for “promote”) my own work. I don’t ask for opinions just to get people to interact with me, as suggested by marketers, (although I appreciate comments). So, in my continued rule-breaking, I’m going to post a review on a recent book I enjoyed, and it’s not even about horses.

Alma Margaret Permar’s Written in the Margins, Poems Touching the Essence of Life, (Wheatmark 2011) shares life experiences and emotions in a beautiful, well-displayed collection. In Permar’s own words, “There are the margins: the places where we’ve written notes to ourselves that reveal the essence of our journey.” Her poems range from just a few words to two pages in length in this 185-page volume, with most pages including one poem. Like much of reality, the writings cover happiness, grief, wonder, and hope. Permar’s choice of words and ability to capture the deepest of thoughts in soothing prose make for a wonderful read. [Read more…]

New Book Arms College-Bound Women with “Strategic Success Plan”

In a sort of guest blog kind of way, I’m sharing the news of a book, to which I was a contributor.  I reflected on Navy experiences, life lessons, and reaching goals with my book,  Believing In Horses.  I wish Lauren Salamone the greatest success with her book, 5 Must-Know Secrets for Today’s College Girl Released today, it’s already reached #734 on Amazon!

 
 

 

5 Must-Know Secrets for Today’s College Girl by Lauren Salamone

 

 

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The Race Goes Not Always to the Swift, But to Those Who Keep Running*

Running Photo

But what does running have to do with writing, or horses, or the military, or any of the other things I normally blog about?  Well, running is a part of who I am.  I started running in college to try and unsuccessfully chase away the freshman pounds, but I didn’t become a dedicated runner until my first year in the Navy.  I found that besides the health benefits, running gave me time to think, a peace of mind, and that there really was something to that whole endorphin-high rumor.  I made many running friends, entered numerous fun events, explored new trails and sights, AND fit into my clothes better.  I loved the solitude of a long run and found that answers to questions came to me while running that I otherwise could not figure out.  I owe a lot in life to my running habit.

 

As the title suggests, I am not a fast runner, but I have kept going.  I’ve met people who have been discouraged by running, so since it is National Running Day, I thought I’d offer my personal advice for what has worked for me.  And all this for free!

  1.  Start slow.  Real slow.  Even if you walk a minute, then run a minute; some start is better than none.  This was probably the key to me continuing to run when I became dedicated.  I had always gone out too fast, became completely out of breath, and thought “this sucks.”  Start slow and build.  If you can breathe while you are running, you’re more likely to stick with it.
  2. Listen to music you like that will motivate you.  Bonus:  you also can’t listen to yourself breathing hard or hear the cat calls from your adoring fans.
  3. Buy good shoes; don’t skimp here.  If you don’t know what kind of shoes to buy, go to a good reputable running store with knowledgeable salespeople and ask.  Replace shoes every six months once you regularly use them.
  4. Find places you like to run – parks, running trails, bike trails, neighborhoods, gyms, your own treadmill – and break up the routine.  If you like where you run, you’re more likely to do it.
  5. Finally, set you OWN goals, not someone else’s.  Are your goals to improve your distance or time, or are they to ensure you are doing something good and healthy for yourself at least a few times a week?  Are your goals to run in every local park?  Do you want to complete a 10K?  Or are you motivated by ensuring you squeeze out at least a few hours a week just for you?  Whatever your goals; make them yours, adjust them accordingly, and keep a running log to see your patterns.

What better day for a new start than National Running Day?  If the President has time…and Oprah had time…don’t you?

*Author unknown, but in reference to Ecclesiastes 9:11

 

 

 

 

 

Measuring Success

How do you measure success as a writer?

Novel Publicity posed this as one of its author Facebook page questions last week.  I’ve considered this question regularly, and need to come back to it when I get off track.  I SHOULD develop a writing mantra along the lines of “Success equals creating something meaningful.”  Okay, need to work on the mantra, but I think you get my point.

Forces must have realized I needed to think about it, as I came across Charlotte Carter’s blog entry, Win Vs. Compete.  Her final question:  “Where do you fit on the competitiveness scale?” I’m very proud of my military background and heritage.  However, spending 25-years in competitive organizations among extremely competitive people drove a competitive edge into me that I don’t think was there by nature.  And now, as a writer, it’s time to focus on what I want as part of the process and in the end, not what someone else has defined for me as success. [Read more…]