Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Crits for Water Interview: Romance Author Jenn LeBlanc

(Or, Feel it in Your Bones)

A charity water fact: 
Unsafe water accounts for 80% of all sickness and disease around the world.

That’s one of the reasons that illustrated romance author Jenn LeBlanc has stepped forward and donated a first chapter (up to 20 pages)critique. She knows that we can chip away at that 80% with huge results. Oh, yes. She feels it in her bones. Take a peek at her bio and then her thoughts on critiquing below.


Canon. Curls. Colorado. CJs. Chuck Norris.

Born and raised in a household of other people’s children in this beautiful state —very nearly with a camera in hand— she never left. She started her own family, got used to the curls, went to college, built a CJ, started a business, and totally beat the daylights out of Chuck Norris, all with a camera in hand. 

Spending her days in parenting chat rooms she got highly adept with one-handed typing and she can still type just about as fast with one hand as she can with two. It’s a great talent to have when engrossed in a scene and in need of a hit of caffeine. One she finished her first novel she quickly realized: She was born a photographer.

From the realization that someone ELSE would be shooting the cover of HER book her control-freak took over. What started as an easy cover shoot ballooned into this completely new kind of media, designed specifically for digital book readers.

She lives and thrives off chaos and the constant flow of the creative process. She wear shorts and flip-flops year-round —much to the chagrin of her friends and family— and she is currently working on the illustrations for her second novel. Her first serial novel THE RAKE AND THE RECLUSE is doing its own Chuck Norris impersonation with the time travel charts on Amazon. You can find her on 
Twitter and Facebook sharing eye candy and being a total rock star.


NAE: What valuable lesson have you learned from one of your critiquers/beta-readers?

Jenn: One of the most important lessons I've learned from my beta readers and critiquers is that everyone comes from a different place and brings something with them to your work. Nobody is objective. Parts of my first novel deal with very difficult situations and getting opinions from others about how these things affected them was paramount to the process of building a character that was terribly misused and damaged, as well as creating the healing process and making sure that she was cared for properly by the people around her (most importantly the hero). In all of it, it's important to keep your voice, but just as important to understand how your words might affect someone. No you can't make everyone happy, that isn't the point, but building characters that are true to themselves and to their situations makes them accessible to your readers. They will fall for your people, love them even more, if they can relate and identify with them properly.

NAE: What is one of the worst mistakes a critiquer can make?

Jenn:  I believe the worst possible mistake a critiquer can make is to make it personal. It's a very delicate operation, critiquing. You are looking at someone's heart, their very soul in some cases, and you have to treat it as such. You have to be true to the process and discuss the problems or issues as you see them with the manuscript while at the same time not attacking the writer, or the work in a personal way. It really isn't easy, and the person you are critiquing needs to be just as open and prepared for the process as the critiquer is.

NAE: What is your general process when you critique someone’s work?

Jenn:  I like to read through and make general observations. However, if the work is in need of a great deal of help with technical issues that sometimes isn't possible, and I will work on those first. But I like to read the work, get the general idea and feel for the voice and pacing of the ms before digging in and attempting to find any issues that are keeping it from being the strongest possible work it can be.

NAE: Is there one specific thing that you gravitate toward while critiquing?

Jenn:  I tend to gravitate toward emotion and characterization. I adore pushing the emotion in a scene, ensuring the scene has reached its fullest potential. I want to feel it in my bones, whatever emotion it is, I need to feel it in my bones. I look for description and dialog that is well balanced and brings the reader on the journey. Language that shows instead of tells, words that describe without being passive or obtrusive.

Crits for Water Quickfires: And, go.

1.       Oxford comma?   Yes.
2.       Should “I like him too” have a comma before “too”?  Yes.
3.       Italicize or underline? Italicize.
4.       How do you separate scenes: #, ***, or line break? ***
5.       What is your favorite verb? Want.


The first part of Jenn’s THE RAKE AND THE RECLUSE, FREEDOM is available on kindle for free.

For a chance to ensure everyone feels  your MC’s emotions in their bones, follow the instructions for Jenn’s first chapter critique here.

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