“Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger.”–Franklin P. Jones

In other words, as the quip above suggests, honest criticism can be hard to take from anyone.  Luckily for me, the sites I follow usually have something worthwhile, challenging, beautiful, or just plain interesting (that so totally non-descriptive word which is nonetheless accurate in this case)  to follow.  Today, I’m going to take the opportunity to mention six more sites which I enjoy, not all for the same reason and not all in the same way (i.e., some of them are more visual and others more wordsmithy).

djkeyserv140– http://djkeyserv140.wordpress.com/ .  This blogger prefers mystery, for the time being at least.  He or she is working on a fantasy/science fiction/RPG type novel, and periodically publishes posts on the actual construction and how it’s coming along, without however revealing the characters’ names or the specific content of the novel itself.  We must respond to a structural analysis appeal here.  These hints and glimpses are very tantalizing, combined with some of the remarks the blogger makes on other people’s sites about the practice of fiction.  I can’t wait until the final planned-for novel comes to light and I can actually read it.  I wait most impatiently.

Stephen Kelly Creative– http://stephenkellycreative.wordpress.com/ .  First of all, Stephen is a photographer based in San Francisco who has posted a whole series of wonderful slide shows of different surrealist and pop-surrealist painters, which are worth going to his site for even were there nothing else on the site.  He has featured Sergio Mora, Hsiao-Ron Cheng, Paul Barnes, Leonora Carrington, and Robert Deyber.  But that’s not all he has on his site.  There is also a Weekly Photo Challenge, an A-Z Challenge (in which the subject of the photo is initialized with a certain letter of the alphabet), and usually a few shots from another blog called “Ailsa’s Weekly Travel Theme” from Where’s My Backpack.  All photos are outstandingly beautiful and striking, while some are also just plain fun.  Stephen is appreciative of beauty, but not solemn or overawed in his attitude towards it.  On the blog as well is a copy of his resumé, which proves him to be a highly centered and creative individual in addition to his photographic skills.  He also writes columns for a couple of magazines.  Finally, he is currently participating in the Post-a-Day contest on WordPress.com for 2012.  As it looks now, not only will he keep the record, but he’ll do so thoughtfully, beautifully, and well.

The Saturday Morning Post– http://joeponepinto.com/ .  Joe Ponepinto, or Jpon as he signs himself, is a Book Review Editor for the Los Angeles Review who publishes a blogpost known as The Saturday Morning Post once a week (on–you guessed it–Saturday).  In it, he takes up stimulating and sometimes quandary-filled issues made to appeal to writers and considering their interests and concerns.  There is always a vital and informative discussion between him and his post readers, and one can learn much about everything from publishing to entering writing contests, to avoiding bogus book reviews, to how criticism itself is made and furthered.  He also has a companion site known as “Third Reader” where he offers editing and tutoring services.  This blog is one well worth one’s time and attention, as it is not only highly intelligent, but offers readers a sort of “insider’s track” to the publishing world.

Londoner’s Musings– http://scribedoll.wordpress.com/ .  This is a blog written by an erstwhile theatrical agent who has kept alive her literary contacts within the theater world, and has a lot to say on other literary issues and societal issues as well.  The first post of hers that I read was a delicately imagined and delightful piece on maintaining the cursive handwriting with pen (preferably with ink-dipped nibs); she herself has a neat script hand.  She has also covered issues such as “female solidarity,” the lovely tradition of church bells ringing in a town, and the sad passing of such places as “Dress Circle,” “a famous musical theatre shop” in Covent Garden.  Her category archives contain such headings as “Words and Civilization,” “Double Standards,” “Pet Hates,” “Odds and Ends,” and “Travel.”  She has a direct and decisive, no-nonsense voice, and yet can be very poetic in her musings.  Her site is definitely worth spending some time on.

Bertram’s Blog– http://ptbertram.wordpress.com/ Pat Bertram is a five-time author whose books (Light Bringer, Daughter Am I, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Grief:  The Great Yearning) are published by Second Wind Publishing.  Yet her site is far more than merely a forum for her book sales.  She writes about all aspects of the writerly challenge, from finding time to write to achieving discipline in one’s writing, to using Facebook and Twitter correctly, to one’s inner emotional relationship to one’s writing.  Pat has sadly lost her life partner within the last three years, and often mentions this without apology for the deflection into the personal tone, yet her matter-of-fact grief and acceptance of going forward are inspiring in themselves for others who grieve, for whatever reason.  This site is chockful of writerly topics, and offers a place where Pat’s readers can comment and compare notes on all the issues I’ve mentioned above, and then some.  Check out her site for all of these many features and reasons.

Emma McCoy’s Blog– http://emmamccoy.wordpress.com/ .  This is simply one of the most exciting sites I’ve come across in a while, and it’s mainly because of a complete eighty-five chapter novel of suspense and mystery called Saving Angels which is post in its entirety there.  At first, I was merely following the story along, but then signed up to follow the site, as it is also one on which intriguing short posts are stored.  Some of the posts are:  the importance of daydreaming to our creative minds; a movie review of a movie which seems rather chilling; some descriptions of what it’s like to write various stages of a book like Saving Angels; and lovely and evocative nature pictures.  Emma is shortly planning to publish her first novel on Amazon Kindle, but also she is engaged in experimenting with the finished first draft of a new book about a counselor who begins a relationship with a client.  Quite logically, it is titled Unethical.  I dont know about others following this site, though I have seen a few enthralled remarks from other readers, but I can hardly wait to read the second novel too.  Kudos, Emma!

These are the latest sites I’ve followed, and while some of them have been Freshly Pressed, not all of them have.  But each and every one fulfills some part of what I look to other sites for, whether it’s the analysis of the way literature works, what we live for, what we draw from experience for our works, or the lovely or funny things we see around us every day.  I hope that you will enjoy these sites too, and will visit them often.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to ““Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger.”–Franklin P. Jones

  1. Many thanks for your mention =)

    The secrecy is due to the Gollum-esque protection of my characters and story. If this is the only good story idea I ever have, and it slips from my grasp, falling into the molten lava of Mount Doom would be a less painful experience =P

    • Don’t worry, it wasn’t a negative criticism that I was uttering; I myself am often very secretive about just what I’m doing. I just e-mailed a fragment of a rough draft to my dearest friends and swore them to secrecy about the fragment and the title both, so I know where you’re coming from. I was just trying to think of something to communicate to my readers my slavering-jawed curiosity about just what’s going on over there!

      • Not taken as criticism. I will make a deal with you. When I have two draft chapters, I will email them to you for some constructive criticism. Only 2 of the 14 main characters will be in there; the rest are supporting characters or bit parts.

        I have drafted Chapter 1, and am currently working on Scene 3 of Chapter 2. Given some focus, the wait should not be too long. The swear to secrecy will be a given =)

      • That will be a treat. As you know, the e-mail address is listed on your “edit comment” page inside your WordPress program. Just send it across when you get it ready, and I’ll send my comments back the same way. I would rather not list my e-mail address otherwise. Thanks for the promised read, I look forward to it.

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