Brenda Novak: Online Auction for Diabetes Research

This is a great event with an amazing amount of online support and some great offerings — and all for a great cause. It starts up May 1 and goes until May 31. Last year I bid on a bunch of items, but came away empty handed. Maybe this year I’ll get lucky…

I’m also very proud to be donating several items:
1) Butterfly Swords fan pack – Last year during the Butterfly Swords launch celebration, I was giving away an annotated copy of Butterfly Swords. Think of it as the DVD commentary, but in book form. The winner, Desere, generously offered to donate it to the Brenda Novak auction since she hadn’t read Butterfly yet. Like me, she had diabetes in her family.

So for the one-of-a-kind annotated copy of Butterfly Swords, a special souvenir map of the Tang Dynasty (which I’m also creating with my little hands) and a pack of autographed romance trading cards, head over to the auction and start bidding!

2) The Sisters’ Critique – I’m quite happy about this. Little Sis has agreed to do a 30 page critique along with me. The winner will get two separate critiques from me and Little Sis. We both talk books and movies all the time, so I’m curious to see how we’ll both approach the same manuscript.

Aside from those personal reasons, I swear by Little Sis’ insight and feedback. I think she has a lot to offer any writer. I’ve also been giving workshops where I talk about making that last leap from “almost there” to getting read and getting published. In the workshops, I talk about “breaking good writing to make it better.” In honor of the Sisters’ Critique, I’m going to run a blog series next week about a specific example of one of my openings, how my sister critiqued it, and how I modified it. It’s a special peek into my writing process. I’m a little nervous about that, but I think it could be fun. Stay tuned starting next Monday! Oh yes, and bid!

More items:

1) Honorary Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood membership – You know you want to be a Ruby-Slippered Sister (or Brother). Here’s a fun chance to get 3 critiques and network with the RSS as well as be the first ever Honorary Ruby.

2) Kindle e-Reader with Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood releases

3) Set of Romance Trading Cards(ITEM NO. 2170283 – 2170287) Over 300 cards in the set. Five sets available!

You must register to bid. Register now and be ready for next week.

Readers and Critiques

Parts of Across the Silk Road, aka Book 1 remastered, have been sent out to readers. No one has the entire manuscript, not even Little Sis, because I’m still hashing out the last chapters which are still in draft form. I have to thank my readers for being so patient with me and my jigsaw process. Right after I finish this draft, I’ll pick up from the beginning and revise in earnest again.

Last night, after critique group, I was thinking of how deep my revision process is. I expect a lot of the tone of the book to change and deepen in the subsequent drafts. Rarely does the structure or plot change, but the emotions get worked over and sharpened (at least I hope) which requires more invasive and far reaching changes threaded throughout the book. It’s so time consuming and nerve wracking to work this way, but I may just have to resign myself to it.

I wonder if this is in some way due to the style of critique I prefer, which I developed from working with Little Sis. I was telling her last time we were together how most readers will read and tell you what worked and what didn’t, giving you suggestions for what you can tweak. That’s definitely needed and very useful. But what my sister tells me is not whether the story is working, but rather, she tells me what the story can be.

The suggestions Little Sis will give are ones that will turn a scene on its tail. She’ll redirect the emotional path of the scene, at times, changing the tone of the entire chapter and perhaps even subsequent chapters. The characters will develop in an entirely different way from what I have on the page — but not in conflict with my overall arch. I can see where this sort of critique can be unwelcome. The changes are not insignificant, but her special skill is that she is sensitive to where the story is going. She’s able to tell me how to do what I want, but even better.

I think it takes a special kind of love to be able to do that. A special kind of tough love.