These diagnostics are used as a teaching tool, because it's often much more helpful to see something analyzed in your own work than to just hear about how to do something in a general sense. I stick mostly to the question(s) asked, and analyze the submission as it pertains to that question or questions. It's not a full critique, and it's not about saying "this is great writing" or not. It's about answering the writer's question and letting them know if they're doing it right, wrong, and what they can do to improve that technique.
The rules for submitting are pretty simple:
- Be willing to have your work and my comments posted on the blog.
- Submit 250 words, give or take. A few extra sentences to finish a scene is fine. If you need to provide an explanation to understand the scene, that's fine, too, and doesn't count in the 250 words. A little background information helps me with my critique since I know what you're trying to do.
- Ask a specific question about writing. For example, if you're not sure if you're showing or telling, or you want to know if you're doing point of view correctly. Something that I can diagnose and talk about. No, "Is this good writing?" type questions please, because that's subjective and I can't help others there. "Does this opening work?" is fine. "Does this scene work?" is also fine. I can pinpoint why it does or doesn't and offer helpful feedback there.
- Say what your market or genre is. What works fine for YA is a bit different than what a thriller needs.
- E-mail to janice (at) JaniceHardy (dot) com with "RL Diagnostics" as the subject line
And that's it. Submitters are invited to revise and resubmit if they'd like, but they don't have to. Revisions will be posted in the original post. Posts will appear on Saturdays.
Sample Diagnostic Posts:
- Crafting a Strong Beginning With a Young Narrator
- Figuring Out Why a Scene Doesn't Work
- A Look at a Middle Grade Query Letter