Spoke with my line editor (who is a dear friend) yesterday about writing. She’s a good friend, a fabulous author, and knows her stuff. She’s been reading my latest manuscript and I’ve been anxiously awaiting her feedback. We have this relationship where she knows not to hold back any punches. I need lots of red pen marks and DIB (do it better). She has the ability to pinpoint weaknesses and make suggestions to get my creative juices going.
Sometimes critiquers give wishy-washy feedback. Usually because they are afraid of hurting our feelings. And, many times they are right. That makes you the weakest link in the equation! Hear this: If you are going to succeed, that kind of feedback won’t help. Sure your book is good, but you want to make it better. You want to make it great! How can you do that if you don’t hear the right kind of advice? For instance, my friend said, “I’ve been thinking. I got restless in the first 90 pages because there isn’t enough action.” She’s correct. I left a lot of questions for the readers which were disclosed later, but this isn’t a mystery! If I want the reader to be involved with the characters and afraid the worst will happen, then I need to up the ante. If she hadn’t called, I’d still be thinking what I’d written works because two other readers just said things like it was a good story. I love the characters. Blah, blah, blah.
So, what is the purpose of this blog? To encourage writers, especially new writers, to grow a thick skin. Find someone who “knows their stuff” and isn’t afraid to hurt your feelings. This is how you learn, how you grow as a writer and how you can make your book the best it can be. That doesn’t mean letting someone else write your prose…doing that would be suicide as a writer. Your voice is different from any one else’s and readers will spot the change. Stay true to you, but do take sage advice. If you have to rewrite, or in my case, add a new character to the mix, do it! Your book isn’t finished until it’s finished.
Talent will not get you published, my friend. Diligent nose to the grindstone, revising, polishing…these are key. Getting your feelings hurt if someone doesn’t like your stuff…that’s for amateurs. If you have a passion, want it bad enough, and are willing to work for it…then you have a chance.
Oh, yeah, and don’t build your career hopes on getting rich! Write the best book possible that makes readers beg for more!
And, lastly, don’t get caught up in perpetual revising of the same manuscript year in and year out. You have to write new stuff…but that’s another blog for another day.