My critique group goes to work!

If you write, join a critique group: other writers who read and critique your writing. Yesterday, my critique group liked the conclusion of “The Criminal Cupid!” (click to read it) I’ll share their comments. (And I will likely do that again for future critiques.)

One newer lady had said this was the first story I’d turned in where she could easily visualize what was happening. She said I had a little more description that slowed down the action and let her keep up. (I still have concerns that I skimp on description.) An older lady who wrote wonderful prose-poetry said, “This is slower?”

My methhead description felt awkward. (I agree.)

One writer said the Billy Jack banter felt flat and did not contribute to the story progress. Another writer really liked it. (That bit is there because Bennie is delaying the arrow girl so Holly has a chance to break free, and so I can take a shot at Billy Jack. I’ll rewrite it to show the former.)

Late 60s Bennie the cop needed to resist 25-year-old Holly more lest he come off as creepy. (I am putting more effort into Bennie holding off love-arrow-smitten Holly. I must make sure the reader knows what Bennie is thinking: Holly needs to back off and get back to police work! It’ll make for better, funnier conflict.) And as a corollary, a writer also said the badge cam felt creepy. (The camera stays! All the cops wear them! I will foreshadow the camera earlier, Holly will also wear one for her day on the police force.)

When Holly struggled against her bonds, followed by her dialog, one writer did not know who was speaking. (I have erased dialog tags too often! Readers MUST know who says what! I will tag that.)

I stole a line from Time Bandits when the villain is about to cast a spell: “Half-warthog? Half-donkey? Half-oyster? Half-carrot?” Arrow girl says, “Half hippie. Half hipster. Half commie. Half socialist. Half angry poet. Half stoned rock star. Half vegan. Half beatnik. Half tie-dyed anti-war protestor. And no cop!” One writer said, “That’s a lot of halves.” (I added a Bennie wisecrack about the girl being bad at math.)

One write gave me the line “untidily bowled over” for the shattered toilet knocking people down. (I took it!)

A writer wants a better description of the arrows. (I will describe earlier in the story, maybe Holly can say superpowered exposition stuff?

A writer liked the collard greens joke and the mocha brown face and Holly’s pale Swedish face gag, but did not get Holly’s beaky nose as deadly weapon. Also said the fascist references seemed to refer to our current government. (Actually, that came from annoying Marx worshippers I met decades ago in college. They’re likely tea-partiers now, wimps who always stuff their little pea brains into a comforting ideology. “Ew, this capitalism sandwich tastes like crap! I’ll hoark down this communism sandwich in one swallow, I don’t need to smell or taste it, it must be good cuz the other is bad!” The epitome of willful stupidity!)

P.S. Ugh, the story is up to 7000 words, that is TOO MUCH! But I have the middle and beginning to rewrite, and a big scene to cut out, so I hope to get it to the ideal length of just over 5000 words. Ideal in not too long, and maybe can be split into 2500 parts for shorter audio files.

Sweetpea reads my book!

For an upcoming live performance of a couple of my Super Holly short stories (details coming!), a fellow writer asked me to take more photos of me, the author, reading to one of my cousin’s dogs. Tucker, the black dog heading my website, was not cooperative (just wanted to lie down and rest his old bones), so I read to squirmy little Sweetpea. Sweetpea’s light coloring and expressive face made for some decent photos.

Will be at BayCon tomorrow selling my little Super Holly book and CD

I will be at a table in the dealer room with a few local authors. I will also go to a panel or two. If you are going, stop by. The table will have a lot of books on it, one book cover will show an irritated superheroine in a barber chair.

The San Mateo Marriott is at 1770 S Amphlett Blvd, San Mateo, CA.

A couple of Free Comic Book Day sketches

On Free Comic Book Day on May 6, at Comics Conspiracy in Sunnyvale, local artists were doing free sketches. I asked for some Super Holly Hansson art.

This is from Leann Hill. She has a sweet and expressive style, check her website!

And here is one from Lane Terasaki, who does not have a website yet for me to point to. He was drawing a dark and grim Batman sketch, so I asked for Holly looking grim and drinking coffee. (The word balloon is mine.)

Fremont Book Signing Saturday May 13

This Saturday, May 13, from 11am to 4pm, the Fremont Writers Club will have a book signing at Round Table Pizza, 37480 Fremont Blvd, Fremont, CA. We will sell books, like my Super Bad Hair Day book with a CD containing superheroine artwork and my audio stories. We will do open mic readings, and I shall PERFORM one of my stories! Probably my latest audio story, The Intellecta Rhapsody; it won first prize at this year’s San Mateo Country Fair Literary Arts Contest. (The background music is the Hungarian Rhapsody: Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, and Tom & Jerry all danced to that tune, so I add Super Holly Hansson to that list.)

Silicon Valley Comic Con was fun!

First things first. Christie Shinn of Hora Tora Studios drew how Super Holly feels about writer’s block.

I was on pop-culture writer (and my friend) Valerie Frankel’s Superheroines panel, and I was quite honored to sit next to the great cartoonist and wonderful HERstorian Trina Robbins! When I said that I was writing a female superhero (hey, gotta plug my stuff), and said that I listened to the ladies on my writing critique groups, Trina said that was very good advice for guys writing female characters. That was nice of her.

And I saw a kid flash conquer the evil reverse Flash!

At at Valerie’s table, I sold four (count ’em: 4) of my little Super Holly books. You know, the ones I print through Createspace, and when I sell them at comic cons, I include a CD with some Super Holly art and my audio short stories with a royalty free music background. Such a deal for five bucks!

I will be on a panel at Silicon Valley Comic Con Saturday April 22

At 3:30, room 114, I will be with the great Valerie Frankel and a few others on the SUPERHEROINES! panel. And I will be doing the authorly/writerly thing at Valerie’s table, selling some of my little books with CDs including digital stories, artwork, and a few of my awesome audio stories!