Monday, October 14, 2013

Terri Rochenski: Be Entreatable

Today I'm over at the Insecure Writer's Support Group website, posting about how to turn your writing insecurities into strengths. So, while I'm there, Terri Rochenski is taking over here with a great writing tip.

Terri and I first met through the Make Believe anthology as contributing authors. Her excitement and energy is wonderful to watch, and rather infectious. Her debut novel, Eye of the Soul, is a great fantasy that draws you in from the first page. When she's not conquering the world with her stories, you can find her here: Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads. Take it away, Terri.

Be Entreatable
One of the best ways to date I’ve learned how to hone my craft was through writing forums. I’ve been active in two within the past couple of years, Writer’s Digest and Scribophile. While taking advantage of both, I applied myself not only to posting my own stories, but critiquing other authors’ works as well.

While I didn’t always feel qualified to give my opinions, I stuck to what I knew as a reader—plot lines making sense, engaging characters and stories—those types of things. As I learned more about the craft itself, the more I felt I could offer in terms of feedback.

One thing I noticed while participating in these online forums is that a lot of budding authors carry pride around like a 100 lb. block of gold. God forbid you point out an issue with their baby. Hackles rise and offense is often taken when none was implied. With an unentreatable attitude like this, an aspiring authors chances of learning and going on to become published is slim to none.

While I am by no means an old pro at the writing and publishing thing, one thing I DO know. Be entreatable. Be willing to learn. Allow yourself to be vulnerable in accepting other people’s help. Quite a few have gone on before, paving the way, learning on their own bumpy journey, and have no wish for others to experience their heartache.

My motto, though? Just be sure to chew up the meat and spit out the bones.
Everyone has an opinion and not everyone can be right. While some things boil down to a preference of style, accept what will make you a stronger story teller.

The main thing?

Don’t lose your voice, the style that is all your own. Being unique is what will get you noticed at submission time.
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Eye of the Soul by Terri Rochenski

Escape. That should be Hyla's first thought as her people are chained and imprisoned for no imaginable reason. Instead, Hyla finds herself traveling through a land void of Natives, with human soldiers pillaging in desperate pursuit of her, and in search of the mystical Pool of Souls—home to the one man who can save her people.

Or so she believes.

Led by her faith in the deity Fadir, Hyla is met along her journey by Jadon—a human male and fierce King's warrior, and his childhood best friend Conlin—one of the few Natives aware of his Fadir-given Talents. Protected by Jadon, guided by Conlin, and with an unfailing belief in the purpose of her pilgrimage, Hyla carries on.

Like her, though, another searches for the Pool, and should he gain access first, everyone she loves, and everything she knows, could be lost. Forever.

Amazon Paperback / Amazon Kindle / Barnes and Noble / Kobo

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Thanks, Terri! Such great advice. That willingness to learn and accepting people's help will take us a long way, not only in writing, but in life. 

Today is Motivational Monday over at the Insecure Writer's Support Group Facebook Group

And don't forget to visit me over at the IWSG website!



49 comments:

  1. Hi Lynda! Hii Terri! I've joined a couple of writerly forums before and found them most productive only if and when I ignore the other bits - they tend to get a bit too riled up sometimes! But on the plus side - I did get some very good advice and feedback!

    All the best with Eye of the Soul and Hyla's epic journey! Take care
    x

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    1. I tried a forum once and it wasn't for me. I'd rather get critiques from people I know. Also, knowing the person helps me interpret their comments better too.

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  2. That is such great advice. I think you learn just as much by critiquing work as you do having your work critiqued.

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  3. I think we should be grateful for and listen to all feedback - even if sometimes we decide not to act on it.

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  4. Congratulations again on the release of Eye of the Soul, Terri!
    Such wise advice. No one begins anything as a pro. Our beginnings are messy and unskilled. There is a lot of room for improvement if we have the right attitude!

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  5. I am most certainly entreatable Terri, even when it stings! Great advice more of all creatives should take. Ego is the enemy of learning and growth. Congrats on your debut! It looks and sounds awesome. X

    shahwharton.com

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  6. I've seen (and alas, at first suffered from the weight of) that gold brick before! Always be willing to accept criticism...no acceptance, no growth.

    Congrats on the book, Terry!

    M.L. Swift, Writer

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    1. And if not accept, then do it with a clear reason why not eg it's monumentally clear the critiquer didn't read the prose properly (which has happened to me).

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  7. Congrats on Eye of the Soul!
    My gold is only white gold, but i intend to carry on till the end.

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    1. Carrying a little sparkle is good for the soul ;)

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  8. Greetings to Terri and congrats on the book!

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  9. Great advice, Terri, and congrats on your book. It sounds wonderful! Great to meet you.

    Heading over to IWSG now.

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  10. Great advice - I'm on another rewrite and I've had to put aside one chapter because I've completely lost my voice in it. I'll have to give it a rest and go back in a day or 2 :)

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    1. Good luck with the rewrite on that difficult chapter. Sometimes these things take time. Okay, many times! ;)

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  11. The one thing I've learned since entering this writerly world is to never *stop* learning. Never think you have reached the end of your education and there is nothing else to know about this business.

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  12. Excellent point! I've definitely noticed this quite a few times with writers I work with--especially with the library group I run. It never seems to end well. Anyhow, great advice, and awesome sounding novel!

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  13. Good advice, Terri. I learned to write on one such forum and was very grateful to the writers there who were more advanced than me and were most willing to help me improve. Up to now, I'm extremely grateful to those writers who took the time to help me be a better writer.

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  14. I used to do some critiquing on forum sites too. It was always tricky to be honest with people on a public forum because you never knew how they would react. And like you said, it's just your opinion you're offering to the other person in the hopes it will make them look at something from a new perspective. But not everyone who submits work for critique is really ready for varied feedback. That's a skill all on its own.

    And congrats on the book!

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    1. So true. They might think they're ready, but it can be a sharp learning curve when you're new to that environment.

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  15. Great advice. So important to find the balance between rigidly not wanting to change a thing, and being willing to change everything and turn your story into someone else's. Eye of the Soul sounds like an intriguing read. Congrats to Terri on her debut!

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    1. It's all about holding onto your vision for the story, but listening to those who will make that vision shine.

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  16. I recently did my very first and receive my first crit. For me, it was helpful to see what someone else saw or didn't. I learned so much from doing a crit myself. I hope that too will improve my out skills as a writer.

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  17. Advice and opinions are just that. Accept people each have their own and don't boast. Great advice Terri and congrats on your book.

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  18. Good advice indeed, everything helps one way or another

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  19. I loved the "entreatable" advice. I've learned to examine every comment on my work and consider how I can use it. Another mind at work on what I've created offers super insights!

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  20. Lynda, thanks so much for hosting me today!

    Thank you everyone for all the encouraging words - thanks too for stopping by.

    Terri

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  21. Excellent advice. I used to participate at critters.org, and it's a great place for getting and giving critiques. BUT I noticed the same thing. About 50% of the people I gave my time to didn't want to be told anything other than "it's awesome!" Well for heaven sakes, if that's what you want to hear, go to readers forum, not a critiquing forum!

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    1. Ha, I'd suggest they wouldn't fit a reader's forum either if they aren't open to any opinion but one ;)

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  22. Thanks, Terri - great advice. Remaining a student in all facets of life is so beneficial...but for a writer, it's a must.

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  23. When I first started writing, seriously, I learned early on to let go of the needed to defend writing decisions. Often times, it could lead to missing sight on some really helpful advice or people questioning whether to offer advice at all. I did not want either of those to be the case for me. So I can certainly see how being entreatable is important.

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  24. Fantastic advice. I listen much more to other writers now than I did when I was younger and thought I knew it all. I didn't at all!

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  25. Great post! Beign teachable is a huge part of being an author, just as much as trusting yourself. I know people who tried to please everyone and ended up as generic and bland as oatmeal. Voice is so important.

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  26. Terri has it right - you can learn a lot from online forums and it's best to leave your arrogance at the door. I got a great CP group from a forum. We know how to handle feedback, be diplomatic, and appreciate each others distinct style/voice. We've been working together almost three years. This year, two of us got agents, and four got book contracts, so I guess we chose each other well. :-)

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    1. Lexa, you're lucky to have found such a group. I too have one & their feedback is PRICELESS.

      Best of luck!

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  27. When I was a new writer, I had trouble not accepting every critique. Actually working with my first editor taught me it was okay to disagree with something she said. I'm still very quiet in critique groups but I'm gaining confidence. I've been around people who get upset by even gently given advice.

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  28. Critiquing is so important. Joining a critique group was one of the best things I ever did.

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  29. I really enjoyed this Terri. I like how you point out that we have to be entreatable, yet retain our own voice. I've just sent work out for critique - 2 excellent authors - one raved about one of my characters and wanted to see more of her, while one wondered why I even have that character in my story. Hmm.

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    1. Your post had me laughing. Isn't that how it ALWAYS is? One loves, one hates. That's why we need to chew up that meat & spit out the bones. We can't please every reader every time, can we??!

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  30. Hi Lynda! I just finished reading your post over at the IWSG blog. Nice to "meet" you :)

    Terri, this is a wonderful post! I helped edit submissions for a university lit magazine my last semester in school. It's hard to really point out the meat and potatoes to someone, especially when you're doing it online and they can't determine how you're saying what you're saying. BUT it's necessary. I crave positive feedback, but I also know that I need someone to point out what needs to be fixed and what could be better.

    Thanks!

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    1. Hi Jen, nice to 'meet' you too ;)
      I know that craving all too well, but I have equal craving for someone who isn't afraid to tell me what the story needs, and who is skilled at communicating their thoughts. It's all about making our stories shine!

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  31. I remember back when I didn't know if I had a voice or not. I kept wondering, how can I have a voice and have distinct sounding characters. I didn't get that there was a difference. LOL. Great post, Lynda.

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  32. I like your comment about hanging on to what makes sense as a reader...sounds like great common sense thinking to always keep in mind when writing:)

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  33. Wonderful advice! We must never stop learning and being willing to learn. Congrats, Terri!

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  34. Hi Lynda, Hi Terri,

    Crit groups, in whatever form they take, are a great leveller. But humility is required.

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  35. This is good practical advice, but I know it will take some of time to perfect this. I've been working on this for a while and I've come to look forward to criticism...I mean, I still yell and mope on the inside, and after I've gotten over myself, I get to work considering the points and taking action.

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