manuscript critiques

Writing Tips: Don’t Write Chronologically

In an article on Writer’s Digest called “10 Tips for Writing” by Chuck Sambuchino, he offers two good tips we writers need to remember:

Don’t write linearly: Don’t set out to write something from beginning to end. A story is meant to be read from front to back, but not necessarily created that way. If you have an idea for writing the sixth chapter first, then start there. The epilogue can even be the first thing you put down on paper, then work your way back. Scattered chapters will eventually be filled in, and it will force you to look at the story from different angles, which may present different ideas or new approaches. You’d be surprised how well this works when a whole book starts coming together…

Ask for (and take lots of) punishment: It is well worth finding yourself a professional writer or editor and asking/paying them to look at your work. Tell them to give you highly critical feedback with no sugarcoating. Let them go so far as to be cruel too, just so you really get the point. There is a lot of rejection and criticism involved in the publishing industry. Getting accustomed to it sooner than later is advantageous. If you want to be serious about your writing, then you’ll need to know everything wrong with your writing. Accepting and understanding the harsh realities of your shortcomings is a most important step to getting better.

The first point is very important. Write what you know about what you want to say, then go back and fill in the rest of the story. Editing is part of the craft of writing, so let the story unfold as it comes into your mind, not on some chronological journey.

While Writers in the Grove doesn’t offer the harsh feedback noted in this article, such feedback maybe given one-on-one or in other groups designed for such feedback, focused on publishing. We also recommend the Willamette Writers Conference and their various groups and meetups. They offer a wide range of critique and feedback opportunities.

Willamette Writers Conference Early Bird Prices End May 31

If you are a writer in the Portland area, or anywhere close to the Pacific Northwest, put the Willamette Writers Conference in Portland, Oregon, August 12-14, 2016, on your schedule and register now for the early bird ticket prices.

The Willamette Writers Association is a non-profit, educational organization actively involved in helping writers get published, turn scripts into movies and television shows, and improve their writing overall. They offer a wide range of educational programs, meetups, and programs for youth and adult all year long, but the annual conference is a must attend event.

Held at the Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel this year, the schedule is filled with fantastic writing techniques and learning opportunities. Register early and plan out which workshops you will attend, including the exceptional pre-conference workshops and classes.

If you are interested in a manuscript critique, they are offering those for a fee, and we recommend you take time to read through “On the Right Track with Advance Manuscript Critiques” to help you prepare for the critique.

Want to pitch your story? Your novel, memoir, script? Pitching events are held during the event as well as at special times, and cost $25 each. Register early for the opportunity to do multiple pitches with various publishers and editors. Read “Pitching with Confidence – Marvin Baker’s Story” for an example of how to pitch your story well, and what might happen. Many authors have sold their books and movie rights at the Willamette Writers Conference over the years.

Early bird registration tickets range from $229 for one day to $449 for the entire event, good until May 31. After that, the prices increase, so hurry.

If enough Writers in the Grove members are considering going, we’ll get a room to share for the weekend. Carpooling is also available. Let us know during our workshops or contact us if you are interested in going so we can make arrangements for transportation and possible lodging.