June Rodriguez
JUNE: We talked about how character changes can make a big difference in your character. These changes will hopefully make your character more believable.

DORI: Yes, it's amazing sometimes how little changes make a big difference. It's important that character's and their actions are believable. When they aren't it jolts the reader from the reading experience. Makes them stop and say "Huh? I don't think so," which isn't a good thing. Sarah was able to go back and tweak a character and her efforts paid off.

SARAH: Aw, thanks, Dori! I have to admit, it was a lot of fun tweaking Gideon. Going back and reworking his character really helped me get a grasp on how to make his part blend in with the heroine's plight. The first time I wrote him, I was a little restrained. I didn't know how he fit. Then, on the rewrite it all clicked. His scene is much more vivid because I listened to you gals and gave him a face lift, so to speak. LOL

JUNE: I have to admit that even though I liked the character before, your changes really gave him a more colorful personality and a stronger reason for being in your story.

JACKIE: In Ironic Dance the whole story is basically about character change. People begin as one thing and grow into another. In fact I would say that is the core of tension that opposing characters play off of. It is a reminder to me to keep my focus on character development. My characters actions must connect to their changes!
JUNE: Having a critique group can help with both the big changes and the little. Even after reading over our material several times we always seem to find the little words that are missing.

DORI: Don't think everyone catches everything, which is why more eyes are better. We tend to fill in missing words, or read words the way they were meant to be spelled, when they aren't. For instance, in rereading my short story that just took honorable mention in the WD's 78th Annual Writing Competition, I noticed that I had written "galley" when I meant to write "gallery." How many times did I read and reread and others read and still no one caught the mistake.

SARAH: I'm right there with you, Dori! My entry to the Golden Gateway had 3 words missing. LOL You can bet I'll never forget which ones! I couldn't believe I missed them. Sheesh! That's why I'm very thankful to have you gals. LOL How many words did I forget in last week's critique?? Umm, maybe I should stick a post-it note on the wall above my desk with, "a" and "the". For reasons, those words can be elusive!

JUNE: When I find a word I stumble over I pull out one of my best writing tools. An inexpensive electronic Franklin Dictionary. I have been using it for about seven years and have not had to replace the batteries. It really is faster then flipping through the pages of a paper dictionary and it has all the same information. I would like to get a newer model with the thesaurus included.

DORI: After watching you use it Friday night I'm tempted to get one for myself. How handy and useful. I tend to use the internet, but your device seemed quicker and easier. One with a thesaurus sounds like a good investment.

SARAH: I was very impressed with the electronic dictionary. LOL I hate flipping through my ancient tome of a dictionary. Plus, if it comes with a thesaurus, I might go with Dori and pick one up. LOL Jackie probably has that "app" for her Iphone!

JUNE: I use the spell check on the computer all the time when I am writing but when I go over critique work I could be anywhere. At the kitchen table or waiting at the Doctors office. It is about the size of the IPhone.

JUNE: We touched on contests before. This time we talked about how much of what a judge says about your entry do you take to heart? Judges can go from one end of the scale to the other on the same submission. The judge's own personal tastes can also come into play when reading your work. If you hear the same suggestion from two or three judges is that enough to make major changes in your story? Or do you wait for more contest results and even more judges telling you the same thing? Most of the time you only send in a part of your novel into a contest, not the whole manuscript so is it better to just keep going and finish or stop and rewrite?

DORI: First, getting feedback from contests is something I'm not really used to. The ones that I enter generally you get nothing. Feedback would be useful, particularly coming from an editor or agent, but like June said keep in mind that we all have different tastes. With that said, if within your genre you have nine judge's opinions and they all say the same thing, you would be wise to listen to the advise. If possible though it would be better to plow through and finish the story then go back and fix the problems. If the "fix" means writing a completely different story then it's a tougher call. Problem with spending a lot of time fixing the first part of an unfinished manuscript is that in the end you may find that none of it is going to work and you've wasted a lot of time in fixing broken parts that are better suited to be tossed aside.

SARAH: Getting the feedback can often feel like being stabbed with a blunt knife! Man, some judges can really give you the old one, two, three! After entering three contests, I re-examined all of the comments. I wasn't too thrilled to see that at least one judge from every contest (even the one I finaled in) said that my plot was trite or too complex. Go figure! So, I did a little brainstorming and now have some ideas for how to revamp my plot. BUT, instead of going back and starting over, I've noted the desired changes and plan to keep my forward momentum. I plan on saving the rewrites for times when I get a little blocked on the front half of the story. The next contest I enter will be one that judges the whole book with all the necessary changes. I want feedback on the whole dish, not just the "tasty teaser." LOL I think it will be very interesting to see what scenes or characters make the cutting room floor once I start editing the completed MS.

DORI: I think you made a good decision on how to move forward.

JUNE: I agree. Too many times I have gotten started on a story and stopped a third of the way in to work on something else. So far I have not finished anything. With our group I want to change that. Sarah I want to see you finish yours. I want all of us to write THE END on our novels.
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