Easy reading is damn hard writing

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If you’re a writer like me, you know the bad side of the business just too well. Tough critiques. Imagine you sit days and days at your computer, or as in my case at my laptop, and pour your soul into a new project. Then send it off to your friend or critique partner, and they tell you, Sorry but your storyline is shit. Frankly, it feels like they’re calling your kids ugly. And I would know, because that’s exactly what happened to me this week. Granted, she didn’t use such ugly words, but the message was quite the same.

We writers love to please our audience. We invent amazing plotlines, with unpredictable twists, maybe some heart-wrenching romance, and a good deal of action. We live for that one moment when someone walks up to us and says, Hey, your book is fantastic. I couldn’t put it down until I was done with the very last page. But to get there is walking on a rocky way. And harsh critiques are as sure a part of that way as are moments of success. So if you ever get a tough critique for your ms, don’t be offended. Take a closer look. Analyze what went wrong, and where it went wrong exactly.

Although every good writing partner will tell you that critiques are totally subjective, and in the end it will always be your opinion that counts, your friends may have a point. In my case, she did. My CP made me aware of the lack of conflict in my script and the flat storyline. It was nice, she said, but it wasn’t perfect. So after swallowing hard at the punch in the gut she gave me with it, I spent a sleepless night, tossing and turning, thinking of new ways to approach the story. In the morning, I’d come up with a totally different plot. And I’m so happy now she called my plotline shit the other day, because that’s what I needed to make it perfect.

Read what I mean in the new opening of GABRIEL. I’m always happy to hear what you think.

6 thoughts on “Easy reading is damn hard writing

  1. Great post! And so true. Sometimes you need tough love to make your novel the best it can be!

  2. Loved your post and I can relate. When I started to write I had no idea what I was doing and my first round through critiques were harsh, but what I needed. Tough love it what I needed.

  3. Glad I could help, Melissa. I’m probably one of the worst CPs of all. And with worst I mean, really thorough and harsh. But I still think it’s always the hardest crits that help the most. I hate it when I get back a critique and there are only two or three red words in them, LOL.

  4. Great post. I remember when I was just about ready to submit Most Eligible Bachelor, my CP (who had already read the story in the developing stages) came back with comments about my opening scene. I was like ‘what? How come you waited until I’m about to submit before telling me the opening isn’t interesting enough?’ Anyway, after sulking about it for a few days, I thought about it again and came up with a different opening that threw us into the story a little faster AND helped me introduce the heroine of book two earlier. In all a good kick in the butt.

  5. Thanks for the advice! I’m just starting out so my greenhorn is very much showing. So far, I have just written and published to please myself. I never told anyone so it came as quite a shock to friends and family. With my second novel I am looking to improve. One thing I discovered is that writing is easy; editing bites!; )

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