Today I'm pleased to welcome my good buddy and Lair favorite Kris Kennedy back to the blog to celebrate the release of her latest book Defiant. Yay, another great medieval romance with a HAWT cover! (Aunty wipes drool from her chin.)
Instead of our usual question and answer interview, Kris wanted to blog with us about those funny little conversations we sometimes have with friends and co-workers. Conversations that nobody else ever hears... Take it away, Kris!
I’m not sure about other authors, but I would never be published if I didn’t have great critique partners.
And by ‘great’ I mean the ones willing to be brutally honest, to say what needs to be said, to read as a reader (meaning they read for Story, and look for your unique story to unfold), but they also know craft enough to explain why it’s a problem, and suggest repairs.
The ones willing to go the extra mile, to read an entire manuscript in a hurry to meet a deadline, to re-read those same damned knotted pages over and over and over again.
Great critique partners add immeasurable value to stories. I’m especially fond of the conversations we have in the margins of manuscripts. The little notes we exchange, whether in pencil or Track Changes, the comments that clue you into the fact that that scene—you know the one, the scene you love more than any other scene, ever written?--yeah, that scene, is actually not a piece of fine art. It’s a piece of something else. The margin conversations where they rip you a new one, and you realize with shocking, blinding clarity that you would never be published without this person.
Great cp’s do things like:
- Write edifying comments in the margins like, “Huh?”
- Catch typos Word cruelly—or mockingly--ignored: “Um, do you really want to say ‘shitory’ here? Perhaps you mean ’history?’” Oh, umm, perhaps.
- Suggest subtle ways to increase dramatic tension: “Cut the last 50 pages and do something different. Maybe try something interesting.”
- Force you out of your comfort zone of descriptions: “You are not allowed to have eyebrows do anything ever again. Never. Again. No ‘arching’ and especially no ‘cocking.’”
- Point out staging issues that have become invisible to the beleaguered writer by her fifth draft: “This room has a lot of windows. She’s passed 5. Really? 5 windows in this little room?”
- Hone in those small, minute, barely-detectable flaws in characterization: “Wow, she’s a real bitch.”
- And deliver the ever-simple and devastatingly effective: “This sounds stupid and doesn’t make any sense.”
I, though, have my own marginal replies to these critique partners who would ride rough-shod over my beautiful words. I’m not a puppet, for Heaven’s sake. I stand my ground, speak up. Some of my favorite replies run something like:
- My ending hook was where? Three pages ago . . . ? Wow. That’s a long way back, huh?
- So sue me, I like adverbs. No, it’s not really a law, you can’t sue me. You’re just scared.
- Did I really? Again with the eyes? And the brows?
- Point-of-View, Schmoint-Of-View. All I care about is “Does it flow?” Oh. It doesn’t? Oh.
- Thanks. I’ll fix that. And that. And that. I was drinking wine at the time.
- And the top apology I give to my cps: It made sense in the other version
What about you? Writer or not, what are some of the silly, wonderful conversation you have with those friends or colleagues that no one else in the world would probably understand?
One commenter wins a copy of Kris’s latest release, a starred Publisher Weekly review, Defiant!
Kris Kennedy writes sexy, adventure-filled medieval romances for Pocket Books. Visit her website ( http://www.kriskennedy.net/) and sign-up for the newsletter, read exclusive excerpts, or just drop Kris a line saying Hi!