Monday, February 1, 2010

ON THE MORROW: (Becky Levine & I are giving away this book)

On the subject of Characters, here's a tiny sample from Becky Levine's fantabulous new book, THE WRITING & CRITIQUE GROUP SURVIVAL GUIDE
(from p. 71)


Here are some of the common problems that can cause a character weakness:
  • A character isn't complex enough
  • Characters don't show enough reaction
  • A character behaves inconsistently
  • A character doesn't grow

And then, Becky elaborates. On her first point, (A character isn't complex enough) she says, among other things,

As a writer you need to make sure your hero isn't all good and your villians aren't all bad. Even your secondary characters must have conflict within them to keep your reader hooked.

As a critiquer, it's your job to help your partners develop all the depth their characters need.

There's more on this point and on all the points.

And much more on:

  • characters
  • plot
  • dialogue
  • setting
  • various genres (loads on genres)
  • etc. etc. etc.

She shares writing samples to back up every point. She critiques the samples. She shows you how to critique the writing samples.

At first glance this is a book about critique groups. But I think you can see how it's also a book that teaches you to write. This book is a MUST HAVE for writers! If you haven't entered the contest (and thanks to all those who did!) you have approxinately 24 hours to do so!

Here's how:

1. Enter a comment that clearly communicates your desire!

That's it, basically. Tell me you want the book. I'll add your name to the hat. And by noon on Groundhogs Day (okay, that's noon Pacific Time in honor of Becky and any California groundhogs) I'll draw the name.

And I'll announce it ASAP, which is to say, approximately 3:15 EST. Good luck!


  1. I so need this book, Joyce!! Youth Writers' Camp, Adult Writing group meets in early March, started blogging with a few writers in my classroom, my sixth graders would think I was the COOLEST teacher~ ever~ winning a contest! Dianne Hall

  2. MAN - I WANT THAT BOOK! We are going to write a play this spring and the information looks invaluable.
    Are you enjoying the snow?
    PICK ME on Groundhogs day!

  3. I WANT THE BOOK!! Pick me,pick me, pick me. (^_^) Nice prize. Hey, I'm a Carolina girl too. *wink*

  4. I want this book, Joyce! Looks wonderful..
    but is it too late and isn't today ground hog's day? thanks!

  5. Yup, I want this book! Love your librarian comment. For that matter, love your blog. Gotta get signed up. Snow is melting but freezing rain is on the way. A great time to cuddle up with the laptop and write! Shelley Worman, writer in waiting

  6. Hi, Joyce--Yes, yes, I want Becky Levine's book! I'm happy to tell you that our critique group has been in existence for four years now, but hey, by the sounds of it, the book offers more insights and guidelines to make us an even more cohesive, supportive group. Thanks!

  7. I want the book! :)

    (was that clear enough?)

    I feel! Thank you for letting me enter. I'm all for reading and learning more about good critique groups. I am blessed to be in two wonderful groups, but I'm sure we can always learn more!


  8. Carol-Ann and all,

    I think you'd love this book. I want to read it thoroughly which i haven't had time to do yet - just to gain insights for my writing process - to critique myself!

    Thanks for stopping by,

  9. Help! I so need this book!!! I need any book that will help me grow in my writing. I am desperate!!! So, on Ground Hog Day, pray that we have an early spring and them, pick me!!
    Anne Schmitt

  10. Anne, I entered you! Check back to see if you won!

  11. I would very much like the book to be for me to be given. See how poor my writing is? Luckily I can read so fast and good that in not any time at all I will be writing best. Probably. Thanks.

  12. Joyce,
    You kindly critiqued one of my pieces at SCBWI in Durham and know how eagerly my flat characters desire to be rounded out. This book might provide just the inspiration their author needs.
    Dorothy of the Kingdom of Anika

  13. Dorothy,

    So good to hear from you!
    I signed you up for the contest.



  14. I'm in. I want the book!


  15. Joyce,
    This sounds like a great book. I'd love to share it with my students and my own critique group. Thanks for the opportunity.

    JOY who is enjoying our snow and watching the squirrels play chase along the creek.

  16. JOY - I gottcha!

    Thanks for participating!


  17. Hi Joyce,

    Please enter me in the D-Day Movie Contest. By the way, I loved Northern Exposure. I am glad to meet another huge fan. DVDs of the programs huh?

    Linda A.

  18. Okay, Linda - you're in! We buy the Northern Exposure DVDs once a year at Sam's Club. (Christmas)

    They might be available online.