Saturday, June 4, 2011

Answers to Questions! :)

I am so excited! Tomorrow I get to pick a winner for my "A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words" prose contest!!! :) And now to answer questions: All of them are from Carrie this time! :) Thanks for asking them!

Question One: How do you come up with ideas for your stories/where do you get your ideas?
Usually my ideas come to me when I'm doing something terribly mundane- the idea for The Seasonings popped into my head while doing dishes. Puddleby Lane evolved while doing gardening! :) But generally it begins with a rather vague idea. For instance, the Seasonings started when I thought, "Wouldn't it be funny to have a family all named after herbs?" and then it just took off. Sometimes I choose a time period I want to write in, and then look up popular names back then, choose one for my main character, and then brainstorm what sort of a story he/she would be in the middle of. :) I think "Puddleby Lane" came from the word "Cottleston Pie" which was in a riddle in the Winnie-the-Pooh books. I just love that word! But since I didn't want to run into copyright issues, I sought out a name that rolled off the tongue just as well. :) And then of course a name like that has a lot of personality and must be rather quaint, and so on.

Question Two: About critique groups: how do you find one you like, with standards you want, and does it cost anything to join?
My critique group is a Yahoo! group run by author Diana Sharples. You can visit it here: I'm afraid I can't give you a lot of tips on how to find a group, because this group was suggested to me by a friend who knew a girl in the group. I am blessed that this is a group of writers writing Christian fiction for young adults. Of course I don't agree with everything everyone else writes, but the boldly declared purpose of this group is to write to the glory of Christ, and to honor God in all our writing--and since this is Christian fiction, it's cool to see everyone weave their stories to the point that their characters come to Christ, strengthen their relationship with Him, etc. Once accepted, the group does not cost anything to join except time, which dribbles into the next question:

Question Three: Also, does it demand a certain amount of your time, or do you have to commit to anything to join?
The critique group does demand a bit of time. You must critique at least one other person's chapter each week so that you may post one of your own chapters every Monday. Preferably more than one critique so each member gets plenty of help with their stories. Also, you must edit your chapter for spelling, grammar, etc. before posting it on the website. After all, this is not precisely an editing group. It's a group that helps you with those mistakes, but is also there as a sounding board for ideas, to provide advice on pacing, plot, dialog, etc.
It took me a little while to get into the flow of the group, but Diana does a great job of leading it so it's not that confusing. :)
You are expected to be involved in the group, as in critiquing, posting your chapters, etc. But you can also take leave from writing for awhile if need be.
I am not sure how most critique groups work--if we're the norm, or if we're amazingly better than others. ;) It's really impacted my writing, to be involved in this group. And I've met some great people, including Angela! :)
So if you can find a group you like, I'd encourage you to join it and learn what you can. Hope this answered your questions, Carrie! :) -Rachel


Anonymous said...

Awesome! I'm sorry I didn't get to asking you any questions... :/ But those were good! I especially liked the part about your inspiration. :)

I can't wait to find out if I won or not! LOL ;)

Carilyn said...
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Carilyn said...

Thank you so much!! I'm not sure if I want to join a group like that, or maybe just not right now (my mom is due to have a baby in 2 days =). What made you decide to join one? Was it to get a fresh opinion on your book, or to practice skills by critiquing other's work (or both)? Thank you so much, again, for the info!


P.S. Would you want to email with me (kind of like being pen-pals)? It's okay if you don't want to.

Rachel and Sarah said...

I'd love to be email-pals with you, Carrie! :)
The Lord actually dropped the whole critique group thing in my lap- I hadn't even been looking for one! I'd barely even heard of such a thing! But I knew I needed some help editing and things like that to refine my book enough in case the Lord wants me to be a published author. :)
You can email me first, if you want, because I don't know your email. :) (and no, I don't only use it for contests. :)
Congrats about your mom! My Mama is due Aug. 8th! :) -Rachel

Carilyn said...

So, am I to understand correctly, that if you join this particular critique group, then you can only post your chapter if you critique someone else's? And, if you don't want to post your chapter at the moment, you don't have to critique anyone else's chapter? But, if you join, they do expect you to critique, and post, every so often, or is it mandated how often?

Also, can you choose whose chapters you want to critique, and is there a lot of garbage, or is it all pretty wholesome?


Rachel and Sarah said...

That's about right, Carrie. The group leader suggests you post as often as you can, though you are limited to once a week. But it isn't mandated.
Well, it is technically a Christian group, but I have found some things I prefer not to read. In which case I can simply decide not to read that person's story. There are plenty of people in the group to give you choices, and for the most part, it's all pretty wholesome. :) Often, if there is something iffy, the person will add a note when they post it to give people a head's up. :)