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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Getting Your Work Critiqued

After you've written your story, polished it and think it's "ready to go," that is the time to have your work critiqued.

Find at least two, better yet, three people who have experience in the same area of writing, be it picture books for the very young or non-fiction for the most serious adult readers. You might find these people in person or online, through writing groups, word-of-mouth or online searches. They might be other writers (aspiring or published) with whom you can do a manuscript exchange.

Or you can find a former editor or agent or author who does professional critiques. You'll have to pay for these, maybe as little as $30, maybe more than $300. Again, check with friends, writing groups and/or online searches.

Be open to the criticism, but remember that it is feedback and the story is yours. If everyone says your main character is weak, you'll really need to consider that. If you get three widely different opinions, you need to decide which, if any, resonate with you and your story.

It takes courage to ask for criticism, but it will help improve your writing.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

In hot water--I wish!

At first I wasn't worried. I wasn't getting hot water, but no big deal, I figured. Just go out in the garage and push the reset button on the water heater. I undo the panel, pull aside the insulation and press the button. Fine. But as I put the insulation back in place, I notice that it is slightly damp. Not a good sign...

I start looking at the bottom of the heater for water. I don't see any. But just to be sure, I run my finger along the bottom. In addition to ending up with a dusty finger (sorry, I don't usually dust around my water heater), I felt a trace of water. Hmmm. Time to call the plumber.

He says it is time for a new water heater. Fortunately, this is a plumber I have called many times, he does great work and I TRUST him! Since it was late afternoon and not an emergency, he asked if he could come at 8 the next morning. That was fine with me. He told me to turn off the water at the top of the water heater and to go in the house and turn on a hot water faucet to relieve some of the pressure.

After I did that, I noticed I could now see a little water under the water heater. I put a washcloth there. A couple hours later it was all wet, so I replaced it with another one. That one got soaked, so before I went to bed I put an old beach towel down and hoped for the best.

In the morning only about half the beach towel was wet, so it had done its job. At 7:45 I pulled my car out of the garage and parked it on the street. Just as I got out of my car, the plumber pulled into the driveway. 15 minutes early!  :)

The plumber is now draining the old water heater and will install the new one, which he had picked up. It is precious indeed to have a great plumber  to call, and I am so glad I have one!