After months working on my new Novel,–then reading it, editing it, reading it again, editing it again, I think I am ready for the next step. In the hope of improving my craft, aware it still needs work… it is time for “Critique.org.”

What is Critique.org?   It is a website that critiques the work of all authors and genres of writing   (-Definition: a formal analysis and evaluation of a story, article or Novel.)

I was so anxious to write and publish my first Novel; I did not offer it to a professional to Critique. Yes, it took me almost a year to complete my first Novel.  I did my own editing, re-read it again, and made more adjustments, and then published it.  Had I consulted any one, I am certain I would have been advised to send my completed manuscript to CRITIQUE.ORG. After all they have been around over 20 years, and helped beginners and published authors.  Had I done so, I would have learned where my story needed help, learned how to refine my novel and received help to place myself on the path to success. This definitely would have helped me Grow as an author.

I strongly recommend CRITIQUE.ORG, home to workshops for all genres of writing – music, art, photography, web site design, authors and more.

It began life some twenty odd years ago as “CRITTERS”, an on-line workshop and critique group for science fiction/horror/fantasy writers and later expanded into workshops for all kinds of artistic endeavors.

The requirements are simple.  Your work is critiqued in exchange for critiquing the work of others. CRITTERS is large, (several thousand members from ultra-beginners to multi-novel professionals)

They furnish you with in-depth critiques, of several hundred words, in a courteous and diplomatic way, even if the news is bad.  Critters also critiques short stories as well as novels and other large works.  If it is a lengthy Novel, you may send it in pieces (Chapters at a time).   In approximately one month from when you submit your manuscript, you will receive 10-20 reviews.  You will learn where the story needs work, enabling you to make those adjustments.

                            Is it time for your work to be Critiqued?

Happy Writing,




Just read abusiness-woman-working_~u19916973[1].jpgn Article from the current Issue of “Writer’s Digest” May/June,2016, by Jeff Somers. titled

” Plotting vs. Pantsing.”  talking about Outlining or not Outlining.


I want to share this with you because I found Mr.Somers thoughts on the subject  very interesting. While it seems most suggest an Outline before sitting down at the keyboard to write, I find myself unable to do so. At first, I tried to plan my story  from beginning, to the end, but it was easier to sit down and start.   I did my research which helped set the scene .  The location and year are planned, and characters have emerged.

In my first novel “JACK OF HEARTS” I wrote about the late 1940’s when I was a teen and fashioned most of my characters after those I grew up with. It was easy because I knew them.  I was familiar with the year, not forgetting what it was like to be a teenager during that time period. I must admit I added a little spice here and there.  After all, it is fiction.

“HIDDEN HILLS”, a trilogy, became about because being a fan of fantasy, I wondered how would an ancient clan of Fairies, hidden for centuries, cope with living in the 21st century?  How would they face life as we know it?  I dug into Irish Mythology which always fascinated me.  As I read more and more, the characters emerged. First, a beautiful Queen, living between two worlds Then, the human, who discovers their village,  and is loved by both the Queen and her sister.  What follows is the conflict between the ancient Gods, the evil Goddess, Morrigan, and the Fairies. ( no longer hidden from the world.)

Just what is a Plotter and Pantsing?

 A Plotter- sets up the logistics, and supply lines like a military campaign, and by the time fingers hit the keyboard, the entire battle is mapped out.  In other words, a Plotter creates an Outline.

I do keep notes, and information about my characters, such as color of hair and eyes- body build, and personality traits. Maybe that is considered some sort of outline.

What is a Pantsing?

A Pantsing- just starts writing, giving the author the power to swing into the story with wild abandon, thereby making the art of writing more exhilarating. 

However, Mr. Somers does state that there are times when both work. He calls it the HYBRID approach. The corner of pantsing is to always follow your instincts first.  He states that pantsing comes into play when you start to struggle.  The trick is not to give up but to change tactics.

It seems I am a Pantsing most of the time and a Plotter sometimes. 



What is Success:



“No one knows what he can do till he tries.” Publilius Syrus (1st C. B.C.)

Success is measured many different ways.   Is it the ability to convert ideas into things? Or, Is it the enjoyment of achieving your goal after years of failure? Does having wealth  insure success? Is success greedy or is it insignificant? Can we measure success  knowing that when we go to sleep each night, we are confident that our talents and abilities served others? Is it the ability to live your life your own way? or make your own rules?

The above are the thoughts of famous people. They are all different.  For me, success will be completing my fifth Novel and finding a Publisher who wants to print it.

Yes, I have written four  novels and still do not consider myself successful. I am grateful for the opportunity to self-publish the four novels, and I would not trade the happiness and satisfaction I felt when I saw the words I created in printed form.   Yet, I still strive for the success of other authors I admire, Like James Patterson, Terry Brooks, Mary Higgins Clark, Diana Galbadon, and so many others. I strive to write as well as they do– to make my characters personalities stronger and more stimulating and my stories so interesting my readers can’t wait for me to publish another.

I would like to share with you what my Grandson, aged twelve, believed Success was when his teacher asked him to write down his thoughts:


What is success? Is it to grow up and become wealthy or is it too become intelligent and smart. Is it something you earn in a day or something you earn in a life time of hard work. Is it great or is it a word to describe a joyful person. My meaning of success is someone who has no regrets and goes for the touchdown every play even though it may be a hundred yards away. It’s a person who strives to be the greatest he could be, not how someone else can be. Success is when things go right and you have the answer. It’s like going into a test, are you going to be prepared or are you not ready for what’s going to happen. Success could be the aftermath of something amazing or a new song working its way up the charts. Success all starts with the preparation. You need to be tough. You need to go to a good school and not party all the time. You need to prepare to be successful to be someone who changes the world, someone who is a leader not a follower, a person who doesn’t quit and fights to the last second even though they are down by 50 points and they know deep inside they can’t come back. Success is many things but is mostly being smart and having a good out come in life. That’s what success means to me

By  Max Runyon   (10/15/14)