The Novel: Which Critiques (Don’t) Matter

I now have a complete manuscript of my debut novel, a contemporary young adult story. Complete, of course, means that I still have another full edit to do over the summer…and then probably another one after I start to query in the fall. My first task is to incorporate the remaining comments I have from the Lighthouse critique group I’ve been going to since October. This group has been invaluable in pointing out legitimate plot holes, helping me understand reader reactions, and getting me unstuck when I couldn’t seem to move forward. I never would have finished without my peers and especially without the facilitator. In addition, some of us branched off into our own writing group, which helps me continue to find motivation through dedicated writing time and having people to bounce ideas off whose opinions I value and who know my story.  Continue reading →

Boy and Girl

There was a little boy and a little girl 
    Lived in an alley; 
Says the little boy to the little girl, 
    ”Shall I, oh, shall I?” 
Says the little girl to the little boy, 
    ”What shall we do?” 
Says the little boy to the little girl, 
    ”I will kiss you. 

Where is the rest of this nursery rhyme? Where is the next stanza where the little girl says “And then I shall punch you in your smug little nose!”? I don’t know what really happened next in that little alley, but it sounds like a tale of woe that has yet to be remedied – girls from low income families don’t always have a safe home environment, free of sexual harassment from strangers or, sadly, sometimes even loved ones. Can you imagine worrying about being assaulted every time you have to pee?  How could this nursery rhyme just end here? Continue reading →