Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Consider a Cross-Genre Critique Group

When people ask about critique groups for writers, I generally steer them away from those that don't address their genre. Yet, cross-genre sometimes works best.

MFA on Enders Island
I recently took a cross-genre workshop on spirituality in writing through Fairfield University's low-residency MFA program. I was privileged to work with award-winning poet Baron Wormser, acclaimed author Marita Golden, and writer Father Paul Fitzgerald. And that was the key to why the group worked great faculty who didn't just manage the workshop, but also taught it. Each brought his or her genre expertise to the table, and kept us on track when we strayed.

Also a plus was the fabulous class of talented writers who gave astute, respectful and constructive observations instrumental in taking us from one writing level to the next.

Looking to broaden your field of vision? Consider a cross-genre workshop with these attributes:
  • Seek a structured critique environment with experienced authors who respect each other's work.
  • Look for a group with the level of talent and experience that will bring your work to the next level.
  • Visit the group for a firsthand sense of the dynamic, and to see if the feedback is constructive.
  • Look for a group that includes poets.
For questions about cross-genre critique groups, contact Word for Words.

Happy writing!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Finding the Flash in Short Fiction


Find the flash in your short fiction

As e-readers and devices get smaller and time gets shorter, here's how to edit short fiction to reveal the flash:
  • Remove all unnecessary words.
  • Replace ambiguous and long phrases with one precise word.
  • Delete repetitious images and concepts.
Now that you've pared the verbiage:
  • Use one image to replace descriptive narrative.
  • Use one scene to represent the story.
  • Pare dialogue to the essentials.
  • Incorporate characters' thoughts in the dialogue.
Repeat the entire process. Now flash your audience.

Tip: This is also a great way to force yourself to edit your work to the essentials.

Resource: For more on flash, visit the Writers Digest article "What Is Flash Fiction."

Happy writing!

For more writing tips, visit the Word for Words Online Workshop, and Adele's blog.