Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dealing With Writing Critique

Book project progresses! If you haven't been around long, the short story is I'm junior writer on the third book for Chesterton Press's Ruah Chronicles. Junior Writer means I do the grunt work while the Senior Writer does editing and polishing and has their name first on the cover. Matt Bowman is the "Senior Writer" on the series, so that all the books will be filed under 'B' and also so that all the books can have the benefit of his extensive fantasy knowledge. Regina Doman will be co-writing the first book and of course will have publisher duties.

For the past two weeks I've been taking the plot outline Matt and I wrote up in July and expanding it. It took longer than I expected and I was really relieved to send it off last night... only to be very surprised when the response this morning was a whole page of notes. At first I was like "ahhh, the weight! I can't handle!"

Then I realized something really important. Nothing Matt said was taking away or changing anything I'd written. It was all clarification or expanding things further. Which, yeah, took me longer to process, but in the end I think it was a bigger compliment than saying so specifically. 

Why am I bothering to write this up? Because dealing with critique and suggestion is a really difficult thing for any writer, but especially one who is new to the publication world. You won't get all of the verbal affirmation your insecure inner writer wants, so you have to learn how to translate the information you are getting into what it really means. If they're not telling you to change something, that means it's good. Good enough for their publication, and what more could you want right now? 

This is my first time working directly with a publishing house on one of my own projects, so I'm learning a lot, and I'm looking forwards to sharing snippets of the adventure that might prove helpful to other writers. 

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