This writing thing isn't as easy as it looks. Last year, I tried to join ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). I wanted Martha‘s Sister, Beloved Prodigal critiqued before it became an e-book. I still do. They put me through the class. But when I tried to join the critique group, my Yahoo email wouldn’t work--something to do with security. They did everything they could to help me. The instructor said new Yahoo security measures won’t accept the ACFW program. I tried my personal email and it also wouldn’t work.
Later, Yahoo sold the company to Aabaco. It's better. They have customer service who get back with you. I may try the ACFW again. I want that critique.
With disappointment, I asked them to release me from my membership. Shucks. My heart broke.
Meanwhile, ProWritingAid catches mistakes.
The ACFW class proved invaluable. I learned five things a novelist must watch. The instructor listed what she referred to as “The Five Biggies.”
1. POV (point of view) only include what the speaker knows. For example, he can't dig into another character's mind and tell you her thoughts (Knew this)
2. Show, don’t tell. (Knew this)
3. Rules and exceptions. You need not slavishly follow the rules if breaking them makes a better story. You should understand the rules. But if you listen to the surrounding dialog, you note that speakers don't follow rules.
Martha sometimes says, “Hmph” in frustration. I think she needs to say “Hmph.” My Martha would say, “Hmph.” But my editing program rejects it. (Also, don't repeat the same word or thought in the same paragraph).
4. Dialog Tags. (New to me) I spent several days going through Martha’s Sister, eliminating the Dialog Tags. Ideally, when someone speaks, you don’t say, “he said.” Instead, you give the speaker an action.
John picked up the rose at his feet. He glared at me. “Did you break this?”
I often used action to illustrate a conversation, but I also wrote “he said.” This one rule transformed the story voice.
5. Repeated words. (See number 3).
Oh GOOD. I finally finished the book.
Once again the Lord showed his wisdom. Martha’s Sister, Beloved Prodigal wasn’t ready for critique.
He brought the article, Self Editing: How to Pull the Weeds from Your Manuscript by Caryn McGill into my life. Her last sentence? “I just saved you $1100. You’re Welcome!” I love it when people save me $1100.
Next I downloaded it and copied it. Now it stays on the desk beside me. She wrote it in October 2012, but I hope it still applies. Much of it will. But that's another thing. Editing goes through phases like your first born.
Thanks to the Grammar Girl blog, I discovered that Internet is now internet. What if I (gasp, choke) had written Internet? My reputation as a writer would be ruined.
Now on to Draft 10.
Your thoughts? Do you have a suggestion on finding a critique group? How to join the ACFW? They seemed like nice people.