Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Meet Karen Cioffi!

Today, Karen Cioffi will be visiting my blog! She's the talented author of "Day's End Lullaby" a wonderful children's book, perfect for a younger's bedtime story. Karen offers us a helpful atricle on the importance of getting Critique help:
Critiques are Essential

By Karen Cioffi

As a co-moderator of a children's writing critique group and a reviewer for BookPleasures.com, and Muse Book Reviews, it's easy to tell which authors haven't bothered to have their work critiqued or edited.

Since I come across this writing no-no fairly often, any advice I give, or if I'm writing articles or another e-book about writing, I always include the importance of belonging to a critique group. Even experienced authors depend on the unique perspective and extra eyes that each critique member provides.

The critique group can catch a number of potential problems in your manuscript:

1. Grammatical errors
2. Holes in your story
3. Unclear sentences, paragraphs, or dialogue
4. Lapses in the forward movement of the story
5. Overuse of a particular word, adjectives and adverbs
6. Unnecessary words that need to be eliminated to help tighten the story

The list goes on and on. And, there are many more potential problems to be watched out for when writing for children. It's near impossible for even an experienced writer to catch all his or her own errors.

Your critique partners will also provide suggestions and guidance. Note here, it is up to you whether to heed those suggestion and comments, but if all the members of your group suggest you rewrite a particular sentence for clarity, hopefully a light will go off and you'll pay attention.

Along with having those extras sets of eyes to help you along, you will begin to see your own writing improve. You will soon be able to find your own errors and those of others much quicker. This will help you become a better and more confident writer.

Now, while the critique group does not take the place of an editor, they do help you get to the point where you think you're ready for submission. At this point, it is always advisable to seek an editor to catch what you and your critique group missed. And, believe me, there will be something in your manuscript that wasn't picked up on.

When looking into joining a critique group, be sure the group you join has both new and experienced writers. The experienced writers will help you hone your craft just through their critiques of your work.

Karen’s Sites


Karen’s Books:

Writing, Publishing, and Marketing – You Can Do It!

The Self-Publisher’s Guide

Day’s End Lullaby


Nancy Famolari said...

Excellent article, Karen. Critique groups are so important. You're very lucky if you have a good one.

Good presentation, Heather.

Vivian Zabel said...

Karen will have a book out through 4RV Publishing before long.

Janet Ann Collins said...

That's extremely important advice!

Karen Cioffi said...

Hey Vivian, I think I should update my info!

Nancy and Janet, I agree completely, critique groups are a must.

Thanks, all for stopping by. And, thank you Heather for hosting me!


Dana Donovan said...

Great advice, Karen. I imagine a critique group will tell you things that friends & family won't. Thanks for the insight.

Martha said...

Wonderful advice.Any advice on how to find a good group?
Martha Swirzinski

Karen Cioffi said...

Hey, Dana and Martha. Thank you for visiting. And, yes, if it's a good group, the members will tell you the truth along with ways to improve your ms.


kathy stemke said...

Wow, Karen, great information. I love your books and I'm looking forward to your new book with 4RV publishing.

Karen Cioffi said...

Thanks, Kathy. The editing process for Walking Through Walls is a great learning experience!

Dallas said...

Great article, Karen! I think sometimes writers have scary preconceptions about critique groups, and your article helps lay everything out in an empowering way. Thanks for the post, Heather!

All best wishes,


Stephen Tremp said...

Critique groups are very important for aspiring authors. I'm just getting involved with a couple and am looking forward to their feedback.

Stephen Tremp

Karen Cioffi said...

I'm actually the co-moderator of a children's critique group and I really appreciate the members in the group. We all do our best to help each member with encouragement, advice, suggestions, writing tips, and so much more.

Thanks all for stopping by!


DarcĂ­a Helle said...

Great article, Karen! I don't know how you find the time to do all you do. You must never sleep!

Karen Cioffi said...

LOL, Darcia, I spend a lot of time on the computer!