Zara West

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Viewing 30 posts - 1 through 30 (of 377 total)
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  • in reply to: Lisa Warren #42489
    Zara West
    Participant

    Here is my Visceral Reaction Guide.

    in reply to: Lisa Warren #42487
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi Lisa,

    Thank you for the lovely compliment. (You too, Jessica) I am glad my comments were helpful. Here are my thoughts on Chapter 2. I mention the Emotion Thesaurus. This  is an invaluable reference. If you don’t own it, I encourage you to get a copy. There is a brand new edition out. I recommend a paperback copy rather than a e-book as it is easier to thumb through.  I have also uploaded my working Visceral Reaction Guide. It is not perfect, but it may be helpful.

    Zara

    in reply to: Zara West Submissions #42486
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi Vicki,

    Thank you for the astute comments. Very helpful. Zara

    in reply to: Zara West Submissions #42448
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi Ana,

     

    Thank you for those great catches.

    No. Going home to mother is not a good idea. Did you find the explicit sex discussion interesting enough to carry the scene? I really struggled with how to show how uninformed middle class women of the time were about sex and how far out Ida was in her sexual reform campaign at the time. Not to mention fit in an angel lover.

     

    Zara

     

    in reply to: Jessica Jayne submissions #42437
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi Jessica,

     

    Here is my Feedback on CH 19. Use what works for you.  Zara

    in reply to: Zara West Submissions #42435
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi Everyone,

     

    Here is the next chapter in Angel Devil. I appreciate any feedback you have to offer.

    Zara

    in reply to: Lisa Warren #42433
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi Lisa,

    Here is my feedback on Chapter 1. I hope it proved helpful. Looking forward to reading more.

    Zara

    in reply to: Vicki Briner Submissions #42339
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi Vicki,

    So glad you provided this background. I do remember reading that backstory though I couldn’t find it with a quick look in my files.  I know she hates liars and that is the conflict you have set up between them from the opening of the book. However, she is falling in love with him. She slept with him. He rescues her from the barn and gunfight.  I guess what I am looking for is a major plot point in her character arc when she chooses to save his life and she gets in the SUV in the previous chapter. That is like forgiving him for lying. From then on she needs to be on his side, not angry, but worried and protective of him i.e. strengthen the love between them. That would make her strong and determined and remove the wishy-washy. That doesn’t mean she can’t be curious about her family and her mother.

    Now if you want to continue with her hating him because he lied, then maybe you need to change the SUV moment and have her say something to Sergio like “Go ahead and shoot him. He’s a liar.” Then stomp off to the SUV. Then she maintains that anger at Eric all through the plane trip again removing the wish-washy.

    In either case -instead of having Eric jump into the SUV after her, I suggest having Sergio tie him up and forcing Eric to go him with them under threat of death. That will add more conflict and tension as the reader will worry about what will happen to him. And Elise can be worried too.

    Zara

     

    in reply to: Vicki Briner Submissions #42332
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi Vicki

    Here are my thoughts on Ch 21. I really struggled with Elise’s feelings and actions and likability, and I don’t know if I was successful in expressing why and providing ways to improve her character. If you have questions or want some of my character arc worksheets let me know. At any rate, use what you feel best helps your story. Zara

    in reply to: Romance Beat Sheet #42236
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi Lisa,

    Hi Lisa,

    Glad you like my Beat Sheet. It is a lifesaver for me. I have a thriller/romance one too that is good for romantic suspense, if anyone is interested.

    The story I am posting now is called Angel Devil – a biographical historical with romantic elements. I think we are up to Ch 14. It is really hard to find old posts in this system. I am reposting the first three chapters for you.  Zara

    Here is the log line and blurb.

    The nineteenth century’s Doctor Ruth faces off against Anthony Comstock, the Inquisitor of Smut.

    In 1882, Ida C. Craddock throws away the corseted life of a gilded lady and applies to the University of Pennsylvania, hoping to become the first woman admitted to the school. Rejected, she decides to thumb her nose at men and the Victorian woman’s corseted existence and become an expert on sex.

    Diving into her research on the history of phallic worship, Ida soon finds herself enmeshed in the radical liberal causes of her time: women’s rights, free love, birth control, theosophy, spiritualism, and freedom of speech and religion.

    Pursued by her mother who believes her insane, criticized by her secular liberal friends for speaking out about sex as an unmarried woman, and under constant surveillance and attack by United States Postal Inspector, Anthony Comstock, who sees her as the tool of the devil, Ida at first flees, eking out a bare living as a marriage counselor. But when Comstock closes in, and she is put on trial for obscenity and blasphemy, she turns to the angels and makes a life and death choice in order to bring the Inquisitor of Smut down.

    in reply to: Zara West Submissions #42206
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi Vickie. Great questions and noting things for me to fix. Your feedback is always appreciated.  Zara

    in reply to: Lisa Warren #42191
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi Lisa,

    Welcome to the group. Here is my feedback on your query and synopsis. These are always excruciatingly hard to write. You did a good job of laying out the story. It will be helpful background as I dive into your chapters. All my comments are suggestions. Use what is helpful in honing your work.

    Thank you for sharing. I know getting crits can be a emotional part of the writing process. And I am the pickiest of the group. But nothing can beat getting outsider’s eyes on our writing. Now go tear up mine.

    I also write historical women’s fiction but under my real name Joan Koster. I write romantic suspense and contemporary romance under the penname Zara West.

    Zara

    in reply to: Zara West Submissions #42188
    Zara West
    Participant

    Thank you for reading Ch. 13, Ana. Your feedback is always appreciated. Will you be having a draft for us to tear into soon? Zara

    in reply to: Zara West Submissions #42186
    Zara West
    Participant

    Sorry, Here is Chapter 14.

    in reply to: Vicki Briner Submissions #42184
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi Vicki,

    Here is feedback on the June 18th submission. Use what is helpful. Zara

    in reply to: Jessica Jayne submissions #42163
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi Jessica,

    Here are my thoughts on Ch 18. I am actually okay with it as phone conversations. It had plenty of tension and emotion for me.

    Zara

    in reply to: Zara West Submissions #42162
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi everyone,

    Plugging along. Working on your submissions. I finished my first revision of the whole manuscript and rearranged some chapters so ignore the strange numbering system in my next chapters. It is for my benefit. I will maintain what I had going here so as not to confuse. Here is Chapter 14. I also have the revised title I will be using now – Censored. 

    All comments very welcomed.

    Zara

    in reply to: Zara West Submissions #42161
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi Jessica,

    Thank you for your great feedback on Chapter 11 and 12. Always appreciated.

    Zara

    in reply to: Jessica Jayne submissions #42047
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi Jessica,

    Thank you for your feedback on my Chapter. Always so astute.

    Attached are my thoughts on Ch 17. Use what makes sense to you. This is a highly emotional scene and I made  a few comments about showing emotion. I have attached a visceral reaction guide that I am working on for a book in my upcoming writing series. Let me know if it is helpful.

    Zara

     

    Zara

    in reply to: Jessica Jayne submissions #41989
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi Jessica,

    Great confrontation scene. Use what is helpful.

    Zara

    in reply to: Jessica Jayne submissions #41977
    Zara West
    Participant

    Morning Jessica,

    Here is my feedback on 15-16. Lots of tension.  Use what is helpful.

    Zara

    in reply to: Zara West Submissions #41960
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi everyone,

    We have had the most gorgeous weather this last week and so I spent it in the garden. Hope you are enjoying the beginning of summer too.

    Here is chapter 13. of Angel Devil. All comments deeply appreciated.

    Zara

    in reply to: Vicki Briner Submissions #41957
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi Vicki,

    Here is my feedback on this section. use what is helpful.

     

    Zara

    in reply to: Zara West Submissions #41910
    Zara West
    Participant

    Thank you, Vickie, for the crit of CH 12.

    You ask good questions and that is so helpful.

    My character is a real person, and she was a woman  of her time. Working with her life story has made me so much more aware of how romance authors so readily insert our contemporary views of sexual practice on the people of the past. Ida Craddock’s contribution to changing sex mores of her time was her proclamation that women could experience pleasure and orgasm during sex.  This was not a common belief, (despite all the hot historical romances out there) and in fact, got her condemned to an insane asylum and later to prison as you will learn.  Ida, along with most medical people did not recommend the use of condoms.  I will have to make this clearer in the text. Yes, there were condoms from early on, but they had issues. The main one was they were usually reused and so medical doctors felt they were unsanitary and advised against them. Every single medical book of the 19th century I have found (over 35 at this time) railed against them. That left birth control, which was also illegal to talk about, up to the woman. The result was families with a dozen + kids, many of whom died. Something we don’t see much of today. Ida’s solution was something called male continence which you will learn all about in the upcoming chapters as she herself figures out how to teach it to others. Many men thought the idea ridiculous, as I have shown Euclid doing. I will work to make this all clearer in my revision.  I have fixed the time span issue you pointed out already. 🙂  Zara

    in reply to: Jessica Jayne submissions #41876
    Zara West
    Participant

    So sorry, Jessica,

    Here it is.

    Zara

    in reply to: Laura Russell submissions #41874
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi Laura,

     

    Welcome to our very active group. Lots of great stories here. Zara

    in reply to: Jessica Jayne submissions #41873
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi Jessica,

    Looking good. Use what is helpful. Zara

    in reply to: Vicki Briner Submissions #41870
    Zara West
    Participant

    Hi Vicki,

    Here is my feedback on CH 11-12. Very exciting. Made my usual plethora of comments. Use what is helpful.  🙂 Zara

    in reply to: Tami Blankenship submissions #41865
    Zara West
    Participant

    Welcome, Tami,

    This is the best critique group ever.

    Zara

    in reply to: Zara West Submissions #41863
    Zara West
    Participant

    Thank you Vicki, Jessica, and Ana, for the feedback on the last three chapters. Your help is so appreciated.

     

    I am attaching chapter 12.

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