On Seeking Constructive Criticism (or “Shall I Be Wistful, or Shall I Progress?”)

Hi Folks, Note: I ran this originally in September 2014, but it was so much fun to write I thought I’d share it again. So here it is. Other than some reparagraphing to make it more lisible, it appears as it was written originally. I sometimes experience an exchange of emails with a writer who asks for a critique of some writing with the proviso that I understand he or she is highly sensitive. Others ask … Read more

On Challenges, Part 2

Hi Folks, Note: This follows on a topic I wrote for The Daily Journal. If you haven’t read it, you can find it at http://hestanbrough.com/the-journal-friday-915/. At the beginning of the calendar year, I challenged myself to write 15 novels during the year. Later, after an intended novel fell short and ended as a novella, I adjusted the goal to 16 novels or novellas. That should have clued me I was in trouble. It didn’t. I plunged … Read more

Words (and Grammar and Syntax)

Hi Folks, When I was teaching grunt English at ENMU-Roswell a billion years ago, I went to the bookstore one day to sign for a shipment of textbooks I’d ordered. There, stamped on the box in bold black all-uppercase letters was “GRAMMER BOOKS.” A poignant moment, that. But I don’t fault the warehouse workers who inked the stamp and applied it. And amidst the storm of unruly comments and laughter from the bookstore workers, I was … Read more

12 Ways to Make That Critique Group Work (Revised and Updated)

Hi Folks, Note: I originally posted this back in August, 2013. Much has changed since then. I’ve updated it to reflect those changes. Most notably, I no longer recommend critique groups. At all. Mostly because 1. Criticism (or critique) by definition is a function of the conscious mind. It’s wonderful for “deconstruction,” but worthless for creation. Also, 2. Nobody, even writers who are much farther along the road than you are, can know all the intricacies … Read more