And so it begins, the quest for a nicely polished manuscript. Truthfully, it began a few weeks ago when I decided to re-read The Final Rose with the hope that it made some logical sense. Sense is there, but so is a sped through middle. Alas, poor words, I meant to write thee.
The re-read is almost over with, thank the many gods. It’s hard for me to go back and look at what I had written because I am overcritical of myself. Common writer problem, I find, and one that we should all work on together. There’s good and bad in all of our writing and becoming self-aware of our strengths would do us good. It’ll make us better writers in the end.
Stepping off that soapbox, I will admit to doing something that goes completely against bettering myself as a writer. I had sent part of this tome of words (About seven chapters or so) to my loyal critique group. I read the critiques years ago and put them aside, never looking at them again.
Well, Saturday, I opened up what I thought was my clean version of chapter one. And it was not. It was covered in critique from erin foster. Critique that I did not want to see at that moment. What could I have done? Closed the damn tab. What did I do? I read it.
And, ladies and gentleman, I have finally seen the light. Nothing in that critique hurt. Everything made sense. (Granted, this was on the second draft so it better have been good.) I think I have discovered the right distance from this novel to start working on it. To mentally acknowledge that these are just words and words can be rewritten.
So, if you are like me and pretend to be tough but have the weak skin of paper, give yourself a few days before reading that critique. Or read it, thank the critiquer (always! Even if you disagree with every letter on that page), and step back. Maybe not three years, like I have, but for a few days. A week. Maybe even a month.
When you look at it again with fresh eyes, remind yourself that the critique isn’t on you, your story (most of the time) or your personal family members (though they may feel that way). This is just letting you know that your words aren’t conveying what you want them to convey. The story isn’t shining through because it has the wrong clothing on.
Change the words, change the outfit.