Monday, February 23, 2009

Critiquing - Lynn Tincher

Critiquing can be a very hard thing to do. According in Wikipedia, the term critique derives from the Greek term kritik, meaning "discerning judgment", usually of the value of something. How do you judge the value of writing when it is a subjective art form?

Remember if you are asked to critique something, you are judging the work, not the author. Be honest but respectful. Offer suggestions for improvement if you find something bothersome or suggest alternative plot lines or character actions. Do not just offer up what you think is faulty or ineffective. Above all, you must respect the author and their own story.

Make sure you ask questions, if appropriate, to better help your understanding if what you are being asked to critique is a part or overview of a larger story. Make sure you understand the author’s point or motivation behind the story they are trying to tell.

Also, be respectful if the genre is not your usual genre you are being asked to review. Study up on the areas you lack experience so that you can offer constructive advice. Do not cast it off as it not being you area of expertise. After all, you are trying to help the author reach their goals, not your own.

If you can be objective and respectful while offering worthwhile advice, you have provided a great service to the author.

Good luck and keep plugging away.

Copyright 2009 Lynn Tincher

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Finding Writing Classes - Laura Griffith

Finding Writing Classes - Laura Griffith (

I have found that finding legitimate writing classes is just as hard as breaking into the writing industry itself. You have to be very careful about getting taken advantage of, or giving your money to people with less than perfect intentions – especially with online courses.

If you do a Google search for writing classes, you can come up with 65,700,000 results – many of which are probably not legitimate. That is not to say that you can’t find legitimate writing classes that would be worth your while- even on-line. Just – like anything – do your research.

There are a number of ways to weed out classes. First, you can always use word of mouth. If a trusted friend or a well-respected writer you know has taken a class and gotten use out of it, it is probably okay. Another way to find a good course is to find a book at your local library or bookstore that lists out legitimate writing classes. But, as always, it is important to trust your sources. The best and easiest way to get involved with a good writing class – is to do it through your local college. A lot of community colleges and universities offer creative writing courses that can stimulate your talents and hook you up with good contacts. Another good source to use is your local library. A lot of local libraries offer creative writing seminars and writing groups. And the best part about getting involved in a group like that is that fellow writers or instructors can also give you ideas for additional writing classes. So, like any other part of this industry, once you are in – you can find people to help you make good decisions for future endeavors.

However, always remember that it is up to you to do what is right for you. If a class you are researching does not seem right for some reason, trust your instincts. If it is a class that you cannot afford, do not go out of your way to come up with money for that class. There are good classes or seminars you can take that are cheap – some even free. You just have to know where to look.

Copyright 2009 - Laura Griffith

Monday, February 9, 2009

Developing a Turning Point - Lynn Tincher

Wikipedia has the perfect definition of what a turning point would be.

In a prose work of fiction, the climax often resembles that of the classical comedy, occurring near the end of the text or performance, after the rising action and before the falling action. It is the moment of greatest danger for the protagonist(s)(good people of the story) and usually consists of a seemingly inevitable prospect of failure, followed by a hard-to-anticipate recovery. For example, if you were on a roller coaster, the highest part of it would be the climax.

A climax includes three elements. The most important element is that the protagonist experiences a change. The main character discovers something about himself or herself, or another unknown character. The last element is revealing the theme itself.

There has to be a turning point or change in the circumstance as a result of a crisis in the story. The protagonist needs to learn something or the situation must change in some way. The turning point does not have to be dramatic, just a change.

There can be several turning points in a story. Be careful not to include too many or you may confuse your reader. Don’t assume they can fill in the blanks and see or understand the points you are making. If you use many turning points, help guide your reader through them. After all, developing a turning point could make all the difference in a story that has been submitted for publication, and the one that gets published.

Good luck and have fun.

Copyright 2009 Lynn Tincher

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Resolution with Character

Are you the master of only great beginnings? Do your stories end with fireworks or just sort of a fizzle? Endings and resolutions are a struggle for many writers, however focusing on character can help you ‘resolve’ the issue.

Too often, writers focus on the storyline, when all great stories reside in the characters. It’s as if they were building a beautiful city without taking the potential inhabitants into consideration. But characters are what give a story heart and soul. It is their emotions, struggles and triumphs that draw in the reader. It stands to reason then that the resolution should revolve around this powerful force.

When inspiration strikes, focus on at least one main character before devising the plot. Create a profile sheet on this character, or several if possible, and flesh these individuals out in full detail. Consider each one’s background and basic personality type. Give these individuals ambitions and weaknesses as well as strengths. No one is perfect, so make the characters flawed, diverse and interesting.

Even if the story is just a wisp of an idea, characters should still be created. If you envision a murder at a ski resort, then who is involved? If it’s a fantasy setting, who inhabits this world? Regardless of the setting, the story must contain characters that catch the reader’s attention and interest. Take the time now to create these individuals.

Armed with a few well-defined characters, you may find the resolution lies within their flaws. Often one or more individuals’ weaknesses not only become the crux of the story but the resolution as well. A character with a significant shortcoming could overcome this challenge in the end. A reluctant hero on a quest might harbor internal struggles that must be resolved in order to achieve victory. An overconfident and selfish character may eventually discover a little humility. Analyze the weaknesses and consider how one might triumph over such an imperfection. Take advantage of your character’s greatest fault!

Depending on the tone of your work, the character might not reveal his flaw until the very end. The hero could turn out to be the villain. Talk about a twist ending! A character might make a vital mistake in the last scenes of the story, ending in defeat rather than triumph. A secret could come back to haunt that individual. Perhaps it might even result in the death of the character. There are many genres where this type of resolution is perfectly suited.

Sometimes it is not so much a character’s flaws but his goals that provide a resolution. I used this idea for the first book in my series, The Circle of Friends. I envisioned a swimmer, and my ending became obvious when I inserted the word Olympics. What are your character’s ambitions? If he is a treasure hunter, then discovering the mother load in an ancient temple might be a fitting resolution. Whether the goals are political or athletic, personal or business, a resolution may easily lie in the accomplishment of a dream.

With any journey, there must be a destination worthy of the travel. Before investing heavily in the plot, create the inhabitants of the scene and allow them to contribute to the resolution. Not only will great endings reveal themselves more rapidly, you’ll find the entire storyline process easier and more enjoyable. And that joy is why we write in the first place!

- Author & professional speaker, L. Diane Wolfe

Copyright 2009 - L. Diane Wolfe

About Me

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The Literary Lynnch Pen is a weekly newsletter published by Lynn Tincher. About Lynn: Lynn was born in the small town of La Grange, Kentucky and grew up in Goshen. Lynn studied Theater Arts in College in hopes of becoming a Drama/English teacher. She has written articles in local newspapers and travel brochures. Now, she is focused on writing novels, short stories and poems. The second edition of her book "Afterthoughts" will be released in April of 2009 with the sequel "Left in the Dark" to be released on October of 2009. She also manages Artist Corner, an artist social website dedicated to help all artists become successful. Her eZine and website provides helpful tips and information. Lynn also provides email list management services. She has partnered with Constant Contact to help provide authors, artists, and small businesses the services to manage their email lists and marketing strategies, eZines, electronic newsletters, coupons and bulletins. Please visit: