Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

The eyes have it


Just a quick post for this week (yes, I know it’s a little late).

A lot of new writers (and admit it, we were all greenhorns once) may not realize that even though solitude, along with quiet, may be necessary to write, you can’t write in a vacuum. (C’mon, of course not literally. There’s no air in a vacuum, and you’d have to wear a space suit, and that’s really hard to type in.) Well, you could, but you wouldn’t be taking advantage of something that is vital for good writing–another set of eyes. (I’m sure there are exceptions, but I’m talking fiction writers.)

I’m neck-deep in my WIP, working through adjustments to the storyline (again) required by adjustments to the plot (again), so I’m trying to stay away from online distractions, and dedicating a couple hours every night to writing. I’ve got a tight deadline I’m working against, and doggone it, this (re)writing stuff is tough.

Still, even though I’m hammering away at the story, I’m working with my writing sisters to ensure what I’ve written makes sense plot-wise, and especially character-wise. That’s the importance of having fellow writers you can work with, and TRUST.

I think most published writers have critique groups that help fine-tune their writing. If not a group, then one or two people who are also writers or writing teachers they can engage to look over their work. I think new writers often don’t “get” this, at least not right away.

(Don’t worry; it’s just like anything else. You’ll learn.)

When I work with my writing sisters, they help me see bits and pieces that are out-of-character or not logical to the story. They even help me see how scenes or characters I’ve written to solve a plot problem actually enrich the story or a character. Huh. Never thought of it that way, but they were absolutely right.

Every time I sit down to write, I think of them. I have a treasured group of fellow writers who help me stay on track (I think I have someone’s boot-print on my butt from the kicking 🙂 ), and I try to help them in return.

Whether you join a writing group, meet at a writers’ conference or retreat, or connect online, having other sets of eyes on your work is critical (okay, my opinion, but almost every writer will say the same). And get that brainstorming wall prepped. Sometimes those writing buddies will open your eyes to new possibilities in your work.

*flips the Do-Not-Disturb sign*

Alrighty then, back to work. Enjoy your week, and Happy May Day!


Author: Julie Holmes, author

Pen names: J. M. Holmes, J. M. Goebel A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for a decade, I've been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. In real life, I am a technical writer with a family of two teens, a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, two chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

7 thoughts on “The eyes have it

  1. Great advice, Julie, that I second! Getting honest, quality feedback is essential; otherwise, we miss opportunities and we don’t grow! I would never have published without the constructive criticism of other writers 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I worked a few years without feedback on my writing while in between crit partners (sadly, my long time CP passed away), and it was hard not having that safety net. It’s so valuable to receive feedback you can trust. I still hear my original CPs voice in my head at times. She was so wonderful to work with. Fortunately, I’ve now found someone I work well with.

    As for rewrites, I rewriting something now and it’s sucking the life out of me. I think rewrites are harder than starting fresh. Good luck to both of us!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, yes, rewrites are in many ways so much less fun than writing the first draft! I’ve made many good changes to the plot line and characters, many due to my CPs. Still, it’s ponderous. And knowing there are a few revisions left to go just makes it seem to take that much longer. Yes, good luck to you on your rewrites!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Julie, this is wonderful advice! Your personal experience and the positive help you are getting from your writing sisters is great. Writing is indeed a lonely business and I find it so easy to be blinded by my own writing – not easy to achieve that distance to self-critique. If you find the right people with whom to connect nothing can be better to advance your work and keep your spirits up. So happy for you and best of luck with your continued work on your WIP.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Annika! It is hard to get to that point where you can accept the critique, aka growing a thicker skin. I look at it as learning, and I’ve learned a lot from other writers. I hope you are fortunate to find someone you can learn from. Good CPs can be tough to find, but oh, so valuable!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have read about some nightmare stories regarding critique but I am lucky in having two writing friends and we do peruse each other’s work and offer adice and comments. The help is invaluable and so often I end up thinking, how obvious, how did I miss that! Especially useful regarding plotting and characterisation I’ve found.

        Liked by 1 person

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