Author Interviews

Writing Advice from Antha Adkins: Critique Feedback Frenzy

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00018]Antha is another sci-fi writer who’s with me in the Athena’s Daughters Volume 2 anthology.  She wrote the specific story called Hot Flash, which is about…”Beth Webster loved to spend cold days curled up with a good book and a toasty fire.  But when the change ignited a fire inside her, she had to find a way to shed her excess heat.”

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Antha’s Writing Tip From Her Own Words:

I am excited to be joining Rori in the Athena’s Daughters 2 Table of Contents.

I believe that I have really grown as a writer because of critique feedback. Early on, I had a non-writer friend read a story of mine, and she told me that she didn’t like the main character. That feedback drove me to research how to better develop characters and how to make them likeable. More recently, a writer friend commented that my writing was too much like technical writing and encouraged me to use more vivid and interesting description. That feedback has driven me to work on my descriptions. I think both reader and writer feedback are valuable. Readers can tell you what did and didn’t work in a particular story. In addition to what didn’t work in the story, writers can tell you what doesn’t work in the writing. So my first piece of writing advice is this: find a critique group and get feedback.

My second piece of writing advice is in tension with the first: remember that it’s your story. I contemplate each comment I get and sort them into one of three categories: 1) this comment is absolutely right; I need to fix that; 2) this comment isn’t what I want to do at all; I will ignore it; and 3) this comment is an interesting suggestion, but it’s not really right, it should be this other thing instead; I’ll implement that. The first category is generally easy to deal with. The second is too, unless I get a whole bunch of similar comments, and then I think more carefully before deciding to ignore them. The third category is frequently the most useful although often the most work. I don’t implement the comment, but my response to the comment.

For example, in my story in the anthology, “Hot Flash,” my middle-aged character, Beth, is a retired language arts teacher. She’s suffering from bad hot flashes, but she doesn’t want to go on hormone replacement therapy. And she seems to be by herself, with no important relationships in her life. When a friend of mine asked me what her background was, I realized something about Beth that I hadn’t before: she’s a lesbian. She retired from her teaching job to care for her partner who was dying of breast cancer, and now that her partner is gone, she’s lonely and too afraid of breast cancer to try HRT. Everything fit together. It’s fascinating to me how sometimes one factor can explain so much and make a story so much richer. And I wouldn’t have gotten there without good feedback from a fellow writer and my own implementation of my response to her comment.

I look forward to seeing the Athena’s Daughters 2 Kickstarter get fully funded so I can share this story with you!



Antha Ann Adkins lives in Friendswood, Texas with her husband, two children, and an ever-growing collection of books.  Her stories have been published in Perihelion SF, Interstellar Fiction, Goldfish Grimm’s Spicy Fiction Sushi, and The Town Drunk.  She blogs about Space & Aliens, her favorite things to write about, at

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2 Comments on Writing Advice from Antha Adkins: Critique Feedback Frenzy

  • Ed Hoornaert says:
    December 30, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Good luck with your Hot Flashes, Antha. (Hmm. Taken out of context, that seems a really weird thing to wish someone.)


  • A3 says:
    March 10, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Thanks! If hot flashes produced super powers … everyone might want them. 😉


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