Last weekend my Daughter and I went to an Off Broadway show- “Christmas in Hell”. This musical was put on by the York Theater Company, and is currently in previews.  Here’s the thing about previews: everyone involved in the show looks critically at each performance and tried to figure out what tweaks will make the show better.

Before the Saturday evening performance, the artistic director stood on stage and welcomed us to the production. He made the easy joke about Christmas in Hell was being performed in the basement of a Lutheran Church and btw, Happy Hanukah.  And then he told us that the first act of the show had been changed since the last preview performance because they had done some reworking that morning to make the meaning and timeline more clear.

That morning.

That morning they moved scenes around, changed dialogue here and there, etc.

For a musical that had already had a few performances.

The Author changed his play.

As you can see, I’m still baffled by this because I get freaked out by editing.

I’m presently in the heavy editing phase of my book. And I’m presently in the land of not wanting to cut things that aren’t working. I’m firmly entrenched in letting scenes, no matter how inconsequential or wrong, stay on the page. I am having trouble divorcing myself from the words that I have written.

When I (substitute yourself if you fall into this category) put words on a page, these words and sentences and paragraphs and pages and chapters become my baby. I have given birth to these things, and Mama wants to protect her baby at all costs.  How can my baby not be the prettiest thing in all the world?  I wrote it…


We all need at least a semblance of an ego in order to survive. We have to have confidence in who we are and what we do. But…we can’t let that ego get the better of us.  We have to be able to distinguish the right path from the not so right path. And we have to know when and how to edit our work.

I’ve been having trouble with rewrites on my third chapter, which in my work is a necessary but odd chapter as I do a quasi flashback. The scenes in this chapter are pivotal to the plotline of the rest of the book. And I had one scene…. My writing group friend said as gently as possible that a certain scene just didn’t work.  And I know she is right. I know exactly what she is saying. But I still had trouble reworking it.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday, I just deleted the offending paragraphs and retooled it.  It’s still not perfect, but it’s better. It’s tighter. It’s a better use of words to describe the situation.

Part of me feels much better that I reworked and retooled.  And part of me thinks I let down my baby- that I didn’t think baby was good enough…

That’s the difference between writers who publish novels, and writers who have a manuscript in the draw- published authors know how to divorce themselves from the words on a page- to know that they are just words that can be replaced by other words.

I need to remember that editing doesn’t mean it’s not good.  Editing means you’re making something better.


Truth or Fiction

My Daughter recently read the 2006 book “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” by Ned Vizzini.  While reading the book, she thought the fictional High School in the book sounded a lot like a school she considered applying to when it came time to choose a high school.  (In Manhattan we apply to public high and middle schools) So, she researched Vizzini, found that he did indeed attend that particular high school, and more distressing, found that Vizzini committed suicide in 2013.  The manner in which he killed himself was the same method that the protagonist in the book attempted.

Last week, the author of  “How to Murder your Husband” was charged with, you guessed it, murdering her husband. (disclaimer- I have not read this book or done research on the subject)

So what do you think today’s topic is going to be?

After finding out what happened to Vizzini, my daughter asked me “Even if a book is labeled fiction, should we question what the author has written about?  Is it our responsibility to delve deeper into the harsher things authors write?”

I responded- “I don’t know.”

As a would be novelist, I know that I am writing a fictional story.   Are there similarities to me? Sure.  My main character drinks tea.  I drink tea.  It was easy to write a detail about something I know- it added a little depth and didn’t require me to do research. It has become a harmless quirk which makes the character delightful (at least I hope it does- we all know I am not delightful…) But the topic of my story, the plot? Well, that’s fiction…

Let’s just think about Gillian Flynn.  Would you want to be married to her?  I know “Gone Girl” freaked me out.  I actually said “No Way” multiple times as I read it. Could you be married to her and not wonder what was really going on in her head?


Does a reader have the responsibility to wonder if someone is writing fiction, or a thinly veiled memoir? Do the loved ones of an author need to worry if an author keeps writing about disturbing topics? If your significant other, or your co worker or your child is writing about suicide do you say something?

One of the first commandments of fiction writing is “Write what you know”. Under that assumption it would be safe to assume that all fiction contains some truth, or relates to the author in some way. But how do we tell truth from fiction? At what point to we say “Wow.  Maybe this should be looked into.”

Now as Vizzini had been in a mental health facility, I’m pretty confident that his loved ones knew of his struggles.  But what about other authors? What about the ones who write about things, but haven’t had any outward signs?

Should the reader of a fictional work question the content? Or should we just go with the assumption that the work is mostly fiction?

Show or Tell

Anyone who has ever taken Writing 101, or read anything about being a writer knows the classic: show, don’t tell.  We sit there and try to think of clever devices to get our stories moving and to give description without relying too heavily of adjectives.  We’re not supposed to say the wagon was red: we’re supposed to intimate that the well worn wagon carried with it the dusky hue of bruised tomatoes. (obviously something better than that- you all know that description is the bane of my writing existence).

So as a veteran of Two (yes TWO) writing classes, I now open up a book to see how the author has chosen to show not tell.  And sometimes I find brilliant ways of conveying information: many times I do not.  Right about now, my friend K is reading this and thinking “OMG- she’s back on the show don’t tell.  Didn’t she bore us enough at dinner with this conversation? I can’t believe she’s still complaining about that book…)

I recently read a book- “The Atomic City Girls”.  It contains the now common triptych story pattern- one day people will be studying the literature pattern of the 2010’s and they will ponder why this decade chose to divide books into three parts, telling three not really related stories, but miraculously have a last chapter that “unites” the three separate but equal parts.  They will wonder why authors chose to do a lousy job telling three stories when they probably could have done a lousy job with just one storyline, and then we could just say poor writing instead of confusing  and convoluted. Is  anyone wondering why I don’t review books?

But anyway.

I read this book for my book club, where yes, we do actually discuss what we read.  Our leader has a carefully thought out list of questions to stimulate conversation.  I had a rather loud conversation with the others about this book regarding show don’t tell. I don’t think there are any major spoilers as the book itself does a great job of spoiling enjoyment of reading.

One of the convoluted storylines is about a low level employee who falls in love with a scientist, so there is the obvious he’s highly educated and has money while she is poorly educated and grew up sewing her own clothes.  How do I know they fell in love?  Well, right there on page 103 (fictitious- I have no idea what page it’s on) he said “I love you.”  The preceding 102 pages did absolutely nothing to “show” that he loved her.  He talks down to her, shuts her out and doesn’t treat her well.  So the only showing the author did was to show that he was not only not a nice person, the author showed that he didn’t love her.

I brought this point up to my book club as they were oohing and aahing about how much in love the characters were.  Where are you getting that he loves her? I asked.  He says it. they fawn. The character says at the end of the book “She was the love of my life.”

She was the love of my life.  Isn’t that telling?  Where is the showing? Where was the support of the statement?

For the moment, let’s say that my novel is a love story.  (I’m trying to keep the suspense up so when you all read it you can figure out if indeed character a loved character b, and how good a job I did showing it) Assume I spend my writing time trying to devise ways to show that my characters are in love.  My question is: why am I bothering if no one really cares how well the story is told?  Is writing as well I can the point, or is the point to try to get published?

So here is my question: Do readers want to see the journey through courtship, see how the characters interact and fall in love?  Or do the words “He loved her” suffice?

Do we as readers really want to be shown, not told?

Sorry- It’s About Blogging

I read and subscribe to a lot of blogs.  This has been an unexpected pleasure of becoming a blogger- meeting people from all over the world. A           nd I enjoy reading blogs, but sometimes it gets hard, like when I was sick.  I wasn’t really reading much, except for a few light reads, so I’m playing catch up on blog reading.

Boy- WordPress does not make it easy to catch up on blogs.  Reader doesn’t include all the posts you subscribe to on a good day, much less weeks.  So I read some blogs on email (trust me- this is not a good method for me.  I currently have 65m unopened emails in my waking account.  I’m going to have to open up an email for people who are trying to reach me directly- sorry to all of you who have tried to reach me and have not received an answer) I tried searching blog names and reading blogs that way.  Again, this was not easy because you really need to have exact blog name and such in order to find it.  This was frustrating- I mean G Sandwich shouldn’t be that hard to search for…Then, if someone liked or commented on my blog, I would go back to look at their posts that way.  This was probably the best way to scroll the archives, except for the amount of times I unfollowed someone accidentally because I hit the unfollow button instead of the blog name.  Then, because it’s WordPress, I would have trouble refollowing them.  Sorry Muddling and Nana for the confusion, but I finally got you guys back on track. Side note: you have no idea how many times I read Part 6 before I read parts 1-5…

I also have this weird “fairness” thing going on in my head:  I would only read one blog from one reader at a time.  I thought it was “fair” to try to read as many of my friends as possible.  This is one of my OCD type tendencies- to get locked into a particular mindset.

But lets skip to another blog aspect: people that want you to read their blogs and follow them.  I used to do the quid pro quo thing when it came to blog follow: if someone followed me, I followed them.  I remember what it was like to be a beginning blogger and not have anyone following me- I’m willing to give anyone a chance. But then I realized that many of these blogs would get me to follow them and then unfollow me.  I mean really.  Not everyone can be as stupid as I am and keep unfollowing people as I try to read them.  So I stopped following people blindly.

Skipping again.  What about the different types of people that follow your blog?  Now, as I’m a “middle aged”, married Mom who wants to be a writer, i get all of the people that check off at least one of those boxes.  But as I am more than that, I understand followers that are cooks, organized, minimalist, movie fans, readers, photographers- because theses are all my hobbies.  And honestly, if a twenty something guy from India wants to follow me- well fine.  Maybe he has some of my interests.  But recently, a blog promoting Pilipino Women as being the best brides found it’s way to my blog.  They liked my post  about my new planner and chose to follow me.  Now, I guess if you’re in the mail order bride business you need a good planner, but I don’t know if you need to follow me, especially with my views on relationships…

And them there’s everyone’s favorite: the people who add to your comments- “Please follow me at”.  For the record, if one of you reads this post before you like it and add this message, I will report you as spam if you do this to me, because as far as I’m concerned, this is SPAM.  You neither like me or my post- Do you know how to get followers?  Write well.  End of story.

Take aways?

  1. I’m still catching up on Don’t feel bad if I missed something.  I’m getting there.
  2. Don’t follow me and them unfollow me
  3. Don’t ask me to read your blog without giving me a compelling reason for me to read it


Some of my blog friends have questioned why they blog.  So let’s think about that for a moment?  Why do you blog?

Of course, as this is my blog, and I’m selfish, I’m going to lead off and tell you why I blog.  I blog in the morning, usually when everyone is out the door.  Much like a pitcher in the bullpen, blogging is my warm up.  Before I start working on my book, I need a way to wake up my brain.  I need an exercise to get my fingers moving.  I need the excuse to actually boot up the computer.  These are the very practical reasons for blogging.

I also blog because I find it fun.  It gives me the opportunity to write about things that are on my mind, almost like someone doing morning pages.  I throw out some sort of idea or thought bottled up in my brain, and I see what happens with it. I also get to play with words and phrasing, think about new ways to present ideas. and try to be witty and clever.

Why blog instead of journal?  Because having a blogging community makes me feel like I am responsible for writing with a certain routine and consistency.  Habits can be good, especially for someone with my temperament.  And of course, when you blog you get feedback.  Do you know how many blog ideas have been generated by posts?  I have two possible ideas from yesterdays post- ideas and thought expand when you throw them out to the universe.

But that’s just me.  Why do others blog?  Now there are all sorts of reasons, but let’s talk about: money.  Some people blog because they want to make money.

Can you make money blogging?

I think you can make money doing just about anything.   Look at mood rings, chia pets, and pet rocks as examples.  But what does making money blogging actually entail?

Many people have a blogger/vlogger that they sight as an example how “easy” it is to make money doing this.  Spoiler alert:  it’s not that easy.

First off, you have to write the sort of blog that will generate followers.  To really obtain a large following, you must have a broad yet specific theme to what you are doing- just broad enough to generate large groups of readers, yet specific enough to be different from everyone else.  You must also pander to your audience: you have to try to offend as few people as possible.  Advertisers/sponsors do not like it if you offend people.  And let’s face it, that’s how you make money: sponsors.   You need a big company with a big message.

Secondly, blogging in this capacity is really hard work.  I read a lifestyle blog put out by Shannon Ables.  Her blog appears in my inbox on Friday mornings, and it’s really more like a newsletter.  She has at least 5 different sections with new and well thought out content.  She has brand names and links all over the place.  A blog of this capacity is not thrown together in 20 minutes before she has her coffee:  it is cultivated carefully and crafted precisely.  I can not imagine how many hours go into this endeavor.  She has also branched out into lifestyle books and has a podcast. I am assuming she has endless meetings with sponsors and advertisers and publishers and agents and about a thousand other professionals.  It is a full time job. (though it is actually her side hustle, as she’s a teacher)

How many hours a week do you want to put into your blog?  Seriously.  Because if the answer is less than 20, you are probably not going to make a tremendous amount of money blogging.  But then you can argue, how much money is a lot.

Can you make money blogging? Sure.

It is easy to make money blogging? Nope.

So as you work on your blog today, or tomorrow or whenever, I want you to ask yourself why you blog, and what it means to you.  And then create the blog that represents you and what you want to accomplish.

Happy blogging!


One Year Anniversary

Can you believe it?

I’ve been blogging for a year!

Here’s some random thoughts about my experience, in no particular order:

  1. I still hate writing titles.  How can you accurately title a blog about daily life?
  2. I began blogging because I was having a severe case of writer’s block.  I had an idea for a novel, yet I couldn’t get the words on the page.  One year later I an halfway through the second draft.  Yay.
  3. I am still amazed at the amount of wonderful people I have met through blogging.  That’s the greatest benefit to the internet- the ability to bond with like minded people all over the world.
  4. I don’t care about grammar.  I know there are people who will not read my blog because I apply my own rules to how sentences should be punctuated and worded, and all I can say is, life to too short to read things that are displeasing to one’s ear, so please feel free to not read me, but please don’t comment on my lack of grammar etiquette.  I’m sure this sentence is completely wrong, but that’s how I roll.  This is my biggest act of rebellion…I write as I speak….Of course, the people who this applies to are not reading this, so……
  5. I can’t believe that I come up with enough ideas to write a personal experience blog 5 days a week (in health- not so much in sickness)
  6. I still don’t know what a widget is.
  7. I still don’t care about knowing what a widget it.
  8. Lists.  Lists.  More lists.
  9. My new focus is on how the little things in life really reflect who we are.  Expect more posts where I will pose the question “What does this say about me?”
  10. I love the amount of positive energy that I see on blogs.  People really are cheerleaders for one another.  But there are still trolls- so please don’t be a troll.  If your hobby is being mean to others on the internet, please find another hobby.  I can send you a list of alternate things to do.

And of course, I need to say THANK YOU to all my friends!!  Thank you for all the love and support over the past year!!



Oh No: A Blog About Blogging

Sometimes the universe works in weird ways.  I planned to write about my blogging process, and the day is just throwing in some twists and turns to sort of oddly highlight how my blogging process works.  And if his doesn’t make sense, I will tell you that I have a nasty cough and head cold, so my powers of thought are a bit all over the place.

Let’s start at the beginning- the beginning of the day.  I usually write my blog early in the morning.  My daughter usually leaves for school at about 7:05, my husband leaves for work about 7:45.  Around this time, I am thinking about my blog post for the day.  The minute my Husband is out the door, I sit and I blog.  My normal blog takes me about 15-20 minutes to write, assuming my internet doesn’t go out.  Now, I admit my internet service is awesome: my computer is lousy at staying connected.  I love writing at this time in the morning: my mind is fresh, my thoughts are sharp, and it is a great warm up for when I begin to work on my novel.  I also have this compulsion to have my blog post out by 9am.  It’s one of my controlling things…

Now, a few weeks ago, I went to DC.  Before I left, I decided to schedule blogs because I knew that being away and keeping to a blogging schedule was just not going to work.  So, my “plan” was to write a day ahead from the week before I left.  If I included weekends, I would have blogs scheduled for the duration of my vacation.  Good plan.  I would still write in the morning, just not for that days post.

And as all plans go….

Here’s what actually happened.  I would sit down to write, and instead off finishing in my usual 20 minutes, I found myself overthinking my blogs.  In the back of my mind I kept thinking “this isn’t scheduled to go live till tomorrow at 8.  I have until then to work on it.”  This is where the problems began.  I started to tweak and play and rework my posts.  Now, one would think that these posts were outstanding, because I edited and reworked….Well, one would be wrong.  I hated these two weeks worth of posts.  I felt they were stilted and didn’t sound like me.

So what did I find out about myself?  I need to write my post fresh in the morning.  I need to just publish the drivel that I’ve put on the page.  I need to stop overthinking. When I write in the morning it’s fun.  I’m enjoying it.  When I start playing with posts, well, it’s not so fun for me anymore.  I second guess.  This is not a good position for an over thinker.

As I’ve already started talking to you about my blogging process, I might as well give you the rest of the dirty secrets.  You’ve all heard about my obsession with planners…well, as soon as I get a blog idea, I enter it into my planner.  For anyone interested, I know what I’m writing about through May 10.  Yes.  I have that many blog ideas.

Which brings us to: how do I get my blog ideas.  Ok- literally everywhere.  I get inspired by comments others have made on my blogs.  I find interesting things in other blogs I read.  My family.  My activities.  Etc.  Etc.  I get ideas from my life. My plain, old, boring life fills me with ideas.  I guess this is the upside of being an over thinker: every aspect of my life has the ability to become a blog post.  Every blog post has the ability to become a follow-up.  Are they all equally interesting or great? No.  But you never know what will interest people.  Topics I thought were a little boring have gone on to be favorites of the blog community, so here’s another one for what do I know.

Now, I also admit that I pre write my Gratitude Saturdays and Week in Review.  I begin \those the day after the old one posts, and I just add to them as the week progresses.  As these is no central idea, I have no problem with this method.  The only problem is that some weekends are WAY busier than others, so I don’t get to add any flourishes to the weekend reports.  That’s just life.  I’m trying to be chill about that.

But now lets talk about today.  I have a nasty cold.  I normally get up at 6 and start prepping for the day.  Today, 6am brought about a hideous coughing fit, and the decision to pull the covers up a little more.  I didn’t get out of bed until 8:30.  I went to boot up my computer, and noticed that a update had been installed.  Good times.  Who knew what time my computer would actually be ready for action.

Finally, install and restart completed.  It was after 9.  The crazy part of my brain was annoyed that I wouldn’t have my post completed before that.  Technically though, it was still morning and it was still going to be a fresh blog post.  And there was some sort of irony in knowing that I had planned a blog about blog process 3 weeks ago, and then today it all went to hell.

So, as I type out the last words, it’s 9:56.  I’m happy with this post.  And I’m going to try not to freak out that it’s “late”.

What Did You Learn Today?

As you know, I finished my writing class recently.  Some of my classmates wondered what they actually learned during the class.  Some of them thought they learned nothing.  They felt that they gained no new knowledge, that they were in the exact same place they started. (to be fair- people felt this after the first class as well.) Now, I felt I learned from both classes.  Does this mean I was stupider than others in my class?  (careful…) Or do I just view learning differently?

I think teaching/learning writing is difficult to quantify.  Can you teach someone to write?  I think you can be taught basics.  I think you can learn how to structure a story, how to write dialogue, how to set a scene.  But is that teaching someone how to write?  Well, it depends on how open minded you are.

I went into each class with a very open mind.  I listened very carefully to what the teacher had to say.  After each class, I would think about the lesson as I read whatever fiction choice was on my ereader.  I would look at how the author actually  put into practice the lessons that we learned.  If we learned about moving a story forward, I would pay attention to how an author actually moved the story forward- how they got from place to place, idea to idea.  If we talked about description, I would look for how the author didn’t rely on adverbs and adjectives, how they looked for different ways to set a scene.  Then, when I would sit down to write, I would try to incorporate what I learned.  Because, I actually felt I learned something.  And my writing got tighter.

I’m going to give you the two lessons I’ve never forgotten:

  1. Man v Man.  Man v Nature. Man v Himself.  That’s it.  Every story boils down to one of these three elements.  That’s it.
  2. Who, what, when, where, why, how. The old journalism prompts.  Use them.  That’s how you make one of the stories your own.

I think people want a cheat sheet, a checklist of what they are “supposed” to do. They think if they memorize this writing playlist, they will produce an amazing work. But writing is not like that: you can’t memorize “rules” and spit out a magnum opus. You have to write from the heart, you have to put the story that’s buried in your soul onto a page. Yes, there are guidelines, but they’re just that: guidelines. No one can teach you to actually be a good writer. Only you can teach yourself how to write.

Look at my lessons.  Memorize them.  Then write your story.  Don’t expect someone else to “teach” you to write your story, because it’s your story.  Your rules.  Your words.  Your story.



March Writing Update

I finished my writing class a few weeks ago.  On the whole I found Fiction 2 very helpful.  I thought my teacher did a really great job at teaching us how to move a story forward.  I think it was a good decision for my to take this class, though I am opting to not take a class this semester. I may take one again in the fall, but I know my free time is lacking over the next few months, and I am loving working with my informal writing group consisting of women I met in class.

I’m working on rewrites of my novel.  I’m about halfway through, and the biggest thing I’ve realized is that I need to listen to my gut feelings about things.  Getting feedback from readers is extremely valuable, but sometimes it’s not always advisable to make the corrections they think you need.  Sometimes, their opinion is based on their particular life circumstances.  When receiving feedback you need to really disseminate the helpful form the not so helpful.  For example, when I presented work to Fiction 1 class, they gave me suggestions.  When I incorporated the suggestions and presented it to Fiction 2, their critique was that I should have done it differently (more like the way I originally did it)  Maybe my first draft wasn’t well written, but the idea behind it was solid.  I just needed to rework my idea.

I have learned that I have a very macro approach to work.  It’s most noticeable when I critique my writing group works.  I’m finding that I’m clearly focusing on the arc of a work- looking for the beginning, middle and end.  I’m more focused on making sure the characters have credible growth or non growth throughout the work.  I am less focused on the micro aspects when I’m first reading.  In my mind, the outline has to be solid before you start focusing on sentences and word choice.  I’ve seen people write beautiful sequences, but they have no rhyme or reason as a whole work.  I’ve become to think of it as a writer writes things, an author tells a story.  I don’t know if this is right or wrong, I only know it’s how I feel.

My next bit of self discovery deals with emotions.  Remember a few weeks ago I talked about how I’m a numbers girl trying to be a writing girl?  Well, I notice that when  I write I am stingy with emotion.  I think that’s part of my analytic, logical gene poking through.  I know I can be emotionless in many situations: I have to get past this when I’m writing, especially as I’m writing a love story.  Love stories should include some sort of emotion.

On the advice of my writing teacher, I am waiting to look for an agent.  He thinks I should have a solid second draft that includes all the plot holes I have discovered.  I think he’s right, so that gets pushed off for at least two months.

And then there’s my blog, which I still love writing, and look forward to writing every day!

So get out there and write!!



Criticism vs Opinion

A few weeks ago I mentioned something from my writing class. When I presented work, I was given competing critiques by two of my fellow writers: one classmate said my characters sounded too old, while another said my characters sounded too young.
So: was this an example of criticism/critique or an example of opinion?
What’s the difference? Lucky for you I have been overthinking this topic for weeks, and I have come up with the following self definitions.
Criticism/critique can be substantiated by a specific thing. You can tell someone an actual reason why something isn’t working. For example, one of my classmates recently wrote a story in which the narrator called another character a “dick”. My critique was that I had a problem with that specific word choice to describe the character because up to that point (and the rest of the story) there was no specific example to make this word be an apt description. Further, the action the character did show clearly did not qualify him as being a “dick” in any way, shape or form.  Critique is when you can pinpoint a place where the story starts to lose momentum, or jump the shark.  It’s also something that the majority of readers will have an issue with.  I’m not saying to write to the masses- you need to forge your own path and be happy with what you put on a page- I’m just saying that if 4 out of 5 readers think the ending is crap, you really have to consider if the ending is indeed, crap.  Also, to be clear, I realize that critique can be a form of opinion, but it’s valid to really consider these points when rewriting.

Now opinion.  An opinion is something that may very well be unique to the specific reader.  An opinion is influenced by what a reader brings into the reading, what their background knowledge is.  In the case of my story, the reader that said the characters seemed too young was 25 years older than me, while the reader that said the characters seemed too old was 25 years younger than me.  They clearly had an age bias that was neither good nor bad, but may not have been valid.  At 25 one might not have any idea that a 58 year old may not have the energy to party all night, while an 80 year old may think that 58 year old characters talking about their sex lives seems juvenile.  Is either reader right?  Doesn’t matter.  If the characters consistently behave in the same manner and their words and actions are in a linear path, they’re probably written correctly for the story.  (this is not to say I have written a perfect story- just that my characters have a pattern that is logical throughout- I hope).

I realize that I am splitting hairs, because opinion can be criticism, and criticism can be opinion.  But when judging other people’s work, we must be careful to think about the why – why something makes us feel negative or positive.  When someone bestows upon you the honor of reading their work, you must go into it with a clear and open mind.  It’s like taking a standardized test:  read and respond to what is written in the text presented to you, and answer questions and form opinions solely on that.  Your life experience doesn’t matter:  what matters is the way the work was written.  Does what the author say make sense? The minute you think “Well, in my experience…” you are no longer giving criticism: you are giving opinion.  Your expectation is that the situation in the story will play out the same way the situation in your life did.

So I will ask you my friends:  what is criticism and what is opinion?  When reading something do you automatically bring in background knowledge?

I really want your criticism/opinion.