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Last week, we discussed how to find your writing tribe. Once you find them, it is time to lay down the ground rules.
1.Decide what type of feedback/group you truly want and need.
Are you all at the same level of beginner, intermediate, or expert? Sometimes a mix is good, but sometimes it causes aggravation. If you need help growing your craft, find a mentoring group. If you just want to be encouraged, find a nurturing group. Are you able and prepared to exchange high-level analysis, editing, proofreading, etc.? Find a master class group.
2. You must be willing to commit to it as if it were a job.
Uneven groups foment resentment. It is bad for the group when some people submit and critique and others don't. Members who don't show up are disruptive. Everyone has "life" events that intrude, but you should try to schedule a time and place and hold it sacred.
3. Make rules and stick to them.
Decide how often you will meet, where or how you meet (in person, online groups, Skype, etc.), how many pages are submitted, the type of feedback you need for each submission, and the format of the feedback (written notes, verbal exchange, notations in Word for Windows, or a combination). Some may be at the final draft stage, others at the first draft.
4. Assign a "clock watcher." It is best to divide your time up evenly so no one gets left out or feels their work has not received equal attention. Make it someone's job to keep time.
5. Assign a "temperature taker." This person keeps everyone on topic and keeps the discussion from becoming heated. Hurt feelings can fester and destroy a group quickly. Make it someone's job to keep the flow positive. It is best to confront any negative interaction right away.
6. Check your ego at the door. If you can't handle constructive criticism, then this is not the venue for you. Everyone will have a different take on your work. They will catch different things. They will have opinions. You do not have to respond to or adapt to them. Say thank you and move on. But if more than one person says the the same thing, you should listen a little closer.
7. No gossiping about each other. Period. No trolling members you don't like.
8. Don't make assumptions. You are fiction writers. Don't assume anything is autobiographical.
9. What happens in the group stays in the group. You should not discuss the other members, their work, their critiques, etc. with other people unless you have their permission. To do so is a violation of trust.
10. If you have a problem member, address the topic openly amongst everyone. Give them a chance to fix things (i.e. not submitting, critiquing, attending) with a deadline. Enforce the rules. If you decide to make exceptions because of special circumstances, make sure everyone agrees.
“Get your Cotton Candy! A token a fluff!” the man in the red-and-white-striped suit yells, though he doesn’t need to raise his voice as he walks the fairway; the Ladies and Gentlemen flock to him wherever he is. His completion is the midget peddling popcorn, and his brother, Six of Poles, who sells roasted peanuts. Of course, he sells more Cotton Candy than the combination of both his rivals.
Cotton Candy, after all, is the food of the gods. In World Circus you can live your entire life eating nothing else. Though your tastes may change for a moment, craving the saltiness of fresh popped corn, or the earthy meat of the peanut, you will always return to the main staple.
During periods of being “flipped”, the stomach won’t grant the sweet floss access to touch its lining, allowing only raw flesh from a fellow member of World Circus inside. Then with the blink of an eye, the condition rights itself, and the patron craves nothing else but Cotton Candy.
The children who come to the Circus, swarm around him, jumping and reaching for the delectable treat. Gripping the white, paper cone, their faces disappear behind the bright pink or blue fluff, before they giddily scatter inside World Tent to watch the show.
Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Chuck!
Characters I drew for a children's story so many years ago and it is filed, with all the other stories I have written over the years. The yellowing of my drawing pad. (c) by Mary Nida Smith
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It's been a few months, but I finally have some time to sit down and blog my having completed the Austin Distance Challenge (long course), sponsored by the Austin Runners Club. I'd done most of the events before, but decided to do the challenge itself (six races, culminating in the Austin Marathon), because I wanted to put more structure into my training for the marathon. I'd done several in the 90s, but this was my second of the century and I wanted to do better than my last one (2013).
The first race was the Run Free Texas 80s 8k (for those who don't think in metric, that's about five miles) up in Cedar Park. Naturally enough, there were a couple of DeLoreans, each outfitted with a flux capacitor. Time travel being what it is, they were obviously the same car but from different time periods. :-). The course was through residential neighborhoods and parks and had some rolling hills -- nice for a beginning of the season race.
Back to the Future!
The second race of the Challenge was the Run for the Water Ten Miler. The course was along Lady Bird Lake and up through Tarrytown and then back downtown, There were some great hills on this course and let me know I needed more hill work...And, ironically enough, it was raining. :-)
Rain and hills
Race three was the Decker Challenge, a half marathon in early December with a course around Decker Lake. It's notorious for hills and really bad weather. (The last time I ran it, it was in the 40s and pouring rain). If anything, last year, it was a bit too warm. The hills were pretty brutal, though.
My face when attacking the hills
But Santa was there!
After that, we had a month break until the Rogue Distance Festival 30k (about 18.6 miles) in early January. This one was fairly cold and probably my least favorite of the events. It was up in Cedar Park again and ran through residential neighborhoods which was fine. There was an issue with marking the course, though, so most of us got off track, which meant the mile markers were out of order so it was impossible to figure out a pace. (I think at some point, we were going in circles -- and ended up going about a mile farther than we should've.). Still, it was my longest run before the marathon and I was kind of glad it happened that way.
Yay! I'm done! :-)
With four events done, it was all downhill from there. Literally. The 3M Half Marathon starts up in the Great Hills area and runs a straight line down to downtown. It also has a swag bag filled with useful (and not so useful) 3M products.:-)
Leo checks out the swag bag
This one also started out pretty cold and way too early :-).
Before dawn, in the warm car before the cold race.
I really enjoyed this one, though, and it was a nice preview of many of the neighborhoods on the marathon route.
The piece de resistance, of course, was the Austin Marathon in mid-February. I like the course, but the first time I ran the Austin Marathon, it was all downhill, starting up north and snaking its way downtown. Now, there's a good bit of uphill until around mile 18. I still like the course, though, and it's not like the hills from the Decker Challenge or the Run for the Water races.
I was pretty happy with my time -- my second fastest of the century! I did it in under 4 hours, which had been my goal. Next year, I'll work more on speed, but this time, I just wanted to not have my quads seize up in the last two miles :-).
Running through UT campus
Made it! Best time of the century!
Anyway, thanks to everyone involved in putting on the races and the challenge itself: organizers, volunteers, emergency personnel, and all the rest! You keep Austin running!
Read the first chapter of the The Hunt by Megan Shephard below!
Meet Megan Shepherd!
Megan Shepherd grew up in her family’s independent bookstore in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. She is the author of the acclaimed young adult series The Madman’s Daughter and the forthcoming middle grade novel The Secret Horses of...
“May fear, discouragement, doubt, comparison, envy, and failure not have the final say in our homes, our work, our relationships, our souls, or our plans for the future. Instead, may we live into our truest calling as people who give and receive grace, forgiveness, and love in the small moments of our lives.”
मोदी सरकार की उपलब्धियां अगर बार बार लगातार देखने पर भी आपको मोदी सरकार की उपलब्धियां नजर नही आ रही तो आप HD channel लगाए … क्योकि कम्पनी हमेशा दावा करती है कि आपको एक दम साफ साफ दिखेगा … इसलिए मैने HD लगा लिया है और आपने ??? amitabh bachchan nda government india gate central government […]
(Via BoingBoing) There's some interesting camera work and sound design in this portrait of Hong Kong by filmmaker Brandon Li. --- If you like this, you'll also like his other film "Tokyo Roar," set against the poem by A.D. Hope.
I promise, at some point I'll go back to writing about things that aren't superheroes. Though that would require Hollywood to stop blasting superhero stories at us in such close succession (I haven't even written anything about the second season of Daredevil, though you can get a sense of the existential despair it plunged me into from the thread starting at this tweet). Coming at the end of
Click here .. ऑडियो – व्यंग्य – संदेसे आते हैं- मोनिका गुप्ता मैसेज करना, वटस अप करना आप सब की तरह मुझे भी बहुत पसंद है पर कुछ ऐसा हुआ कि मुझे मैसेज देखते ही टेंंशन सी शुरु हो जाती है आखिर ऐसा क्या हुआ होगा और मैसेजिस मे ऐसा क्या है ?? अगर आप […]
Today on the YABC blog we are happy to sit down with author Beth Vrabel
and talk with her about her upcoming release, Camp Dork, which released
on shelves on May 3rd, 2016.
YABC: What surprised you most while writing your latest book?
I was surprised how much fun I had going back to...
Title: TAD and DAD
Author & Illustrator: David Ezra Stein
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books, 2015
Themes: Father/son relationships, frogs & tadpoles, sleeping
My dad has big, buggy eyes, … Continue reading →
वायरल सच ऐसा भी सोशल मीडिया और वायरल का बुखार जोरो पर है पर आज मैं जिस वायरल की बात करने जा रही हूं वो हम सभी की जिंदगी से जुडा है. वायरल का सच है इसलिए बहुत सोच विचार कर ही पढे. जब बच्चा छोटा होता है और कभी कभार खेलते खेलते उसे चोट […]
बहादुरी की मिसाल पायलट अमित सरकार को कोसना हो हमारी जुबान हाजिर है.. अंट शंट कुछ भी बोलते चले जाएगे.. चाहे मोदी जी हों या अरविंद जी किसी की कमी निकालनी हो तो पीछे नही हटते और कमिया हजारों निकालते चले जाएगें पर अगर किसी की प्रशंसा करनी हो तो जुबान लडखडा सी जाती है.. […]
The truck should have turned Libbi Piper into a Libbi pancake, but a mysterious boy named Aaron saved her life instead. The problem? Aaron’s the local Grim Reaper. The bigger problem? He saved her life so she can take over his job.
Libbi has just days to choose between dying like she was supposed to or living a lonely life as Death Incarnate. The choice only gets harder when she learns Aaron’s reasons for wanting out of the whole morbid business. Basically, his job sucks.
Still, when Aaron looks at her, there’s something more in his eyes. Something dark and secret. Something he’s hiding. Libbi will be damned if she’ll die without figuring it out. And she’ll be damned if she lets him go.
The creep is back.
I may not be able to see him, but I know he’s here, somewhere. Call it intuition. Or maybe it’s just the eerie memory of when the guy stared me down last night. I don’t know, but I’m not taking any chances.
I hunch over my history final and release my thick hair from behind my ears. It swings forward like a dark-brown curtain and hides my face.
Show’s over, buddy.
I can’t look around, not with Mr. Winkler on “cheater duty.” Hopefully, the guy will get bored and go wherever the hell he went last night when he took off.
The final is what’s important. I need to focus on this test.
I read the next question on the page, but the loser’s gaze bores through my dark shield of hair and my arms erupt in gooseflesh. Before I can skim the multiple choice answers, my eyes betray me and shoot up to scan the classroom.
Mr. Winkler sits at his desk scratching at some poor schlub’s paper with his red pen of doom. His bald head gleams in the harsh fluorescent light. God, I hope it’s not my paper he’s destroying. I can’t afford another bad grade in this class.
I quickly scan the rest of the classroom through the part in my hair, but everyone is working. Eerie feeling or not, nobody’s looking at me.
But I know someone is watching. Just like last night, I can feel his stalker stare.
This is ridiculous. I shake my head and rub my arms to dispel the goose bumps. This guy has freaked me out so much I’m imagining his eyes on me now. I don’t have time for this. I have an exam to finish.
The tip of my pencil hovers over the letter C, and something in my peripheral vision shifts. I snap my head up and finally see him.
The guy I caught staring at me at the art show last night, the guy who warned me something bad was going to happen to me today, stands at the tiny rectangular window in the door. He tilts his head and his ice-blue eyes lock on mine, sending a shiver through my body.
Shake it off, Libbi, I tell myself. He’s just a crazy boy with a crush.
Actually, with his tousled black hair and his nose pressed against the glass like that, he looks a little like a lost puppy. If he wasn’t so creepy, I’d almost feel sorry for him. But couldn’t he choose a better time than the middle of my history final to eyeball me? Plus, he said he wanted to talk to me alone, and this is most certainly not alone.
I point to my partially finished test and mouth, “Final exam.”
He nods. A half-smile lifts the corners of his lips.
“Bye.” I wave my hand.
“I need to talk to you,” he mouths.
“No,” I reply, but he continues to stand at the door.
Dude, catch a clue already. I spin away from the door, sneak a peek at Mr. Winkler, and shove the eraser of my pencil between my teeth. I yank the eraser out of its metal holder and flick it at the back of Haley’s head. Her chair squeaks as she jumps and whips around to glare at me.
“What?” she whispers.
“Look.” I point over my shoulder with my pencil to the classroom door. “That crazy guy I told you about is at the window.”
We turn to the door together, but the window’s empty. He must be a shy creeper.
“Where?” Haley says.
“Never mind. He’s gone.” I slump back in my chair. At least I can finish my test in peace.
Imagine how overjoyed I was to see my books being recommended on the Letters in the Sand website created by Caitlin, who is a mother of two and has experience as an educator in both public and private schools, as well as the being a home-schooling parent and teaching in community educational playgroups.
These particular books were written for QED Publishing and are illustrated by Sue Hendra. They were designed to help children to distinguish between different shapes. The emphasis is on making learning fun. In the book s I use the environment to reinforce what the reader sees to help them recognise shapes by using familiar, everyday objects in the world around them.
In the United States it is possible to buy all four books in one volume, entitled Shapes Around Me and published by Scholastic.
बच के रहना रे बाबा … बात ज्यादा पुरानी भी नही है जब चुनावी दिन चल रहे थे तो नेताओ के जैसे कभी मोदी जी की आवाज में तो कभी अरविंद जी की आवाज मे फोन सुनने पडते थे ( अब भई काट भी तो नही सकते आदरणीय मंत्री जी जो ठहरे ) नई टेक्नोलोजी […]