The opportunity to have a published author critique my writing was a thrill, but it served as an eye opening experience. As I readied myself to digest the comments, I felt the sweat accumulating in my palms. First, I read the e-mail she included with the critique and my palms began to dry.
She explained she was just one author and this was her opinion, but it’s based on what she’s learned on her writing journey. She would let me know when something was good and she would do the same if something didn’t work and should be cut. For a moment, I wondered if she would think anything was good.
Page one contained five comments. The second comment said, “Love this line.” I was able to breathe again. The other four comments focused on how to make a particular line stronger or more clear. I started to relax and feel I had this writing thing under control…. until I read page two.
My eyes popped. “Delete this. Re-write this to tighten. Show the action.” Reading page two made me realize this wasn’t going to be easy. This was only page two of my 215 page book. Editing this could me take years. I wondered if I should shelf this book and move on. Was I that bad? Was I really a “head hopper”?
Throughout the next several pages, there were enough “good” comments to make me sit up a little straighter and take the “bad” like a grown up. After all, a huge part of writing is the ability to take criticism and then use that criticism to make your writing more strong.
Would I participate again in a critique contest? You bet I would. Although, I left the experience with a bit of a bruised ego, the author was very genuine with her comments. She assured me that once upon a time, she was exactly where I am now and that’s ok.
I realize I have a long way to go and a heck of a lot to learn. However, I can look back to my earlier writing and see I’ve come a long way. My plan is to push through the daunting task of editing and then move on to the next book which I’ll begin during NaNoWriMo.