If I Could Offer One Critique…

GAH!!

Whenever something is that weird mixture of exciting yet scary, you’ll hear me (or, rather, read me) going GAH! So what’s going on that’s exciting/scary at the moment? I am putting a couple chapters of my baby, Delivering Justice, out there for feedback. GAH!

I’ve polished the first chapter to a spit free shine, and now I’m working on the second chapter. I sent the first chapter to a woman who is in a writing group that I’m a part of on Facebook. She also participated in So You Think You Can Write, and her entry received an R&R (revise and resubmit letter), which means Harlequin is interested in her work. We are swapping first chapters. I just pressed send on my chapter.

Within the larger writing group of So You Think You Can Write participants, we were broken into smaller critique groups. The leader of my critique group of three just sent out an email that we will be swapping about two chapters a week starting today. GAH!

This is usually the part where I crack up, if I haven’t already. Writing is hard enough. Revision drives me up a wall. Having someone read my work always knots my stomach. But having someone critique my writing? GAH!!

I know that this is an important step in my journey for two reasons:

1) sharing my work with someone always makes it better. When I took my words to my coworker each day, it made me aware of the quality of what I was writing. This wasn’t just a book for me to write and put in a drawer; it was a guarantee that someone would read it, so it needed to be good. Aside from this, every time I have had a writing workshop class with critique, the revision of the assignment has been so much better than the original. No matter how well I write, I can’t see my every weakness and fill in all the holes.

2) It forces me to slow down and do this write. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know my first inclination is to hit send as soon as possible. I just want to get it out of my hands and have my part over with. But you only get one chance to make a first impression. I want the editor’s first impression of my work to be amazing. Amazing takes some time. It means not pantsing and leaving time for revisions. It means actually doing revisions. It means seeking other’s opinions on how to make the writing stronger and getting comfortable with feedback. GAH!

So I am having a very difficult time deciding if I’m more excited or scared by having pressed send once and having to do so again before this day is over. Is the story  the best I can make it? Should I have waited? Are these the right people to critique my writing? Is this a step closer to publication? I can’t allow myself to obsess over all of the anxiety involved in this. I must celebrate the victory I’ve just achieved–I sent a chapter of my story out for someone’s opinion on it! Not on the spur of the moment and without revision like with SYTYCW, but something I had the opportunity to polish. That’s something I can be proud of, no matter what happens next.

Do you have a critique partner/group? How do you handle feedback on your writing?

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Performance Anxiety

I thought the post before this one was already published two weeks ago. If this post makes no sense because of the high I was on two seconds ago, that is why.

Let me just say that it’s amazing how God causes things to fall in line. He moves fast. I was just saying a couple weeks ago how I had a breakthrough with the marriage kit book (which isn’t much about the marriage aspect at all anymore–hint!), when something very interesting happened.

A couple months ago, I told my minister that I needed help with my book. I needed someone to read what I had so far and to help me develop a book proposal. Instead of helping me himself, he gave me the number of a minister out of North Carolina who wrote for a Christian publication, Bro. Jefferson R. Curuthers, Jr. I was hestitant to call someone I didn’t know and who didn’t know me, someone I’d never heard of before, so I kept putting it off. But I kept writing.

It turns out that Bro. Curuthers is the speaker at our revival all this week. His wife spoke at our ladies’ day on Saturday, and as I sat there, it dawned on me her husband was the guy. Since I had just had my break through with major writing a couple of weeks ago, it seemed like a nod from God to go ahead.

The thing is, now that I have him here, I can’t seem to bring up the idea of my book and pitch it to him. I mean, the guy is here to preach the Word, not read my WIP. I don’t want  the opportunity to pass me by, but I’m having a hard time being “aggressive” with pitching my work. I have always had this problem and I know it will be in the future if/when I get published.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can use this networking opportunity? Have you ever pitched a book face to face?

An excerpt of what I’ve been working on will be coming soon! Stay tuned!