Tag Archives: writing critique groups


Gosh it’s been a while since I did a blog here, or for Josie, so I thought it must be time to catch up and let you all know what’s going on at the moment.  It’s been quite busy in the High-Heels And Slippers department and I haven’t had much time to write much at all (even though I am VERY excited about getting my second book, currently named Holding Me Up, ready for publication).    Truth is that book marketing takes up a lot of time!  

I am ECSTATIC  to let you know that High-Heels And Slippers is now officially available for $12.99 in paperback at Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/High-Heels-Slippers-Ella-Slayne/dp/1466239328/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1319042043&sr=8-1

A shipment of books is currently on its way to me  in readiness for a book launch party planned in November (eek!).  Must give another shout out to Marek Jagucki for the AWSOME cover!  Such a talent – check out his website: http://www.mjcartoons.co.uk/

I’m also so excited to let you know that the High-Heels And Slippers online blog tour will take place between the 28th November and 19th December.   Thank you to all the FIFTEEN (eek!) reviewers taking part  I can’t wait to hear what you think of the book! And a BIG thank you to Samantha Robey who swiftly and efficiently organised the whole thing!  Click on this link for her contact details and details of the tour: http://chicklitplusblogtours.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/high-heels-and-slippers-by-ella-slayne/

I will be posting updates on the blog. 🙂

I’m also thrilled to taking part in an author Q&A at Chick Lit Central on January 5th.  This website is a must for Chick Lit fans! Check it out: http://chicklitcentraltheblog.blogspot.com/

So it’s all go and no doubt Josie is feeling a tad neglected but I’ll get to her in the next few days – I promise!

Hope you’re all having a FAB week! Please feel free to stop by the blog and say “hello!” 🙂




Filed under Chick Lit, creative writing, fiction, novel, publishing, writing

Swimsuits And Writing Critiques

My daughter recently joined a swim team.  She loves to swim so it seemed like a good idea. I bought her a new swimsuit to celebrate.  It was one of those sporty swimsuits; navy blue and designed for serious swimming!   Of course she hated it and immediately told me so.   She didn’t like the straps because “they felt strange”.  She didn’t like the colour because “it was too dark” and she wasn’t going to wear it because she was certain she would be the only swimmer in the pool wearing “that kind of swimsuit.”  She wanted to wear her favourite swimsuit; the one with spaghetti straps covered in pink and lime hearts.

A heated debate ensued, where I explained that it was better to keep her strappy swimsuits for fun and use the new one for swim team because it was designed to be comfortable for competitive swimming.   In return she shouted a lot, there were tears and a slammed door, but  to my surprise I eventually won and my daughter solemnly went to her room to change. 

When it came to the next swim class I prepared myself for another battle.  I handed her the swim-bag and waited for the moans and groans.  But none came.  Instead my daughter skipped off to change with the comment: “Thanks for getting me this new swimsuit Mum, you were right: it’s much better for swim team!”  I was dumbfounded. 

It occurred to me that receiving a tough writing critique is similar to this in some ways.  It’s natural to be attached to our writing. We can be particularly proud of a certain phrase or a character. Then we take our work to the critique group only to find that our fellow trusted writers suggest cutting that particular phrase or even that we change a character or plotline.  And we balk at the advice; it hurts.  We suck it up and go home with a mind to ignore it completely! What do they know anyway right?

But see here’s the thing: if we wait a while and then pluck up the courage to look at that advice again, we usually find that they were right after all.  And if we can be brave enough to take it on board and make some changes, we find that our work has improved.

I have really found that the best advice I’ve received has been feedback that I’ve thought, at first, was negative and hard to take.  I’ve sobbed into the pages of my manuscript lamenting the ruthless suggestion to cut whole paragraphs.  I have cried spooning sugar into my cup of tea as I mull over the suggestion to rewrite a whole plotline.  But every time, when I have had the guts to do it, it has worked out for the better and I have almost certainly learned much more in the process.

So I think writing critiques are just like my daughter and the swimsuit.  We should be open and try the new swimsuit on, even if we don’t like the colour or style… because we might find that actually it’s a perfect fit! 🙂

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Filed under creative writing, fiction, novel, publishing, Uncategorized, writing

Quote for the day!

I came across this quote today and it made me smile 🙂

“If at first you succeed, try not to look too astonished.”
                    – Herm Albright
Hmm…it would be nice to get it right first time… 😉


Filed under creative writing, fiction, novel, publishing, writing

A Contest – eek!

OMG – am just slightly excited, and nervous, that I am taking part in a Secret Agent Writing Contest on Miss Snark’s First Victim’s blog: http://misssnarksfirstvictim.blogspot.com/p/secret-agent.html   If you don’t already know of this blog,  it’s worth having a look – I just found out about it recently (I’m usually way behind everyone else) – and it seems to be a really supportive and active writing community providing useful advice and positive vibes  – which always come in handy! 🙂 

For the contest entrants have to submit the first 250 words of a manuscript.   Only 250 words but it feels as if I’m laying my whole soul out there for comment.  I don’t know how my work will go down (I’ve submitted the first letter from Josie in High-Heels And Slippers which opens the book) but I’m trying to tell myself to take it on the chin and use all feedback as a way to move forward, as I have done before.  We’ll see what happens…

I have to say that accepting criticism and feedback has been a hugely helpful, though not always easy, part of the steep writing  learning curve  for me.  It started by attending a critique group three years ago,  trembling as I read my work aloud and then listening red-faced as people I hardly knew, commented on what I’d written. 

Over a year ago, I took part in an ebay auction and paid a substantial amount (which went to a charity) for an experienced agent’s critique.  Her comments arrived by email on Christmas Eve and knocked me for six!   She had some extremely encouraging things to say but also some criticisms  – I found myself focussing on those and my spirits slumped.   I fell out of love with my book and with writing in general.  But after processing it for a while, seeking advice from my writing group who had now become dear and trusted friends,  I came to see that a lot of what she said was valid and extremely valuable.  I took a deep breath, sucked my in gut and got to work revising. 

I think (hope!) that I came out with much better book after that and now I am extremely grateful for that initial agent feedback.

It led me to take part in another blog contest which to my utter joy and surprise led to a full manuscript request!  Oh the high of knowing that maybe I was onto something, that I wasn’t being a complete fool dedicating so much of my time to this strange occupation that is writing.

I still don’t have an agent contract  – oh the illusive contract – but I feel that if I can keep putting my work out there for feedback and take it all in,  I’m hopefully, getting closer to one. 

So I guess that’s the point – to keep going and continue to learn  – and I suppose that’s handy for lots of things in life, not just writing! 🙂


Filed under creative writing, fiction, novel, writing