Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

My First Critique (Part 2)

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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.

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Author: Jill Weatherholt

My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full-time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write modern stories about love, friendship and forgiveness. I started this blog as a way to share my journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers. Raised in the Washington, DC area, I’ve lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2004. I hold a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and a Certification in Paralegal Studies from Duke University. My first book, SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE, will release in March, 2017. It's now able for pre-order on Amazon. I was the first place winner in the Dream Quest One Short Story Contest in the Winter 2014-2015 competition. In 2014, I placed second in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest. I was also a top ten finalist in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest in 2012 and 2013. I’m a 2010 and 2012 winner of the NaNoWriMo Contest. I love to connect readers, visit me at jillweatherholt.com

9 thoughts on “My First Critique (Part 2)

  1. Yes, I think any good critique has to include the highs and the lows–what works and what doesn’t. I know that I look for crit partners who have strengths where I’m weak. I want to learn their methods! Every time we put our writing out there, we learn how to do it better–glad you grew from it!

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  2. “The first draft of anything is shit” – Ernest Hemingway

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  3. I second all the above. It’s a process; of writing, of learning, of rewriting, then learning even more. I feel like I’ll never stop improving, but that’s good. What would be the fun if it was too easy? 🙂 Great post!

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    • Thanks, Anna. I agree, it’s a continual learning process and it is fun! With forty-two manuscripts under your belt, no doubt you’ve seen vast improvement over the years. NaNo will be a cakewalk for you! 🙂

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      • Every manuscript is a challenge, as every story is new. Why NaNo appeals year after year; it’s never the same.

        My daughter is a voracious reader, but not a writer. She’s also one of my biggest champions, equally a distraction monster, what we joke every time she sends me a new recipe right when I’m in the middle of something. 🙂

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