Monday, February 28, 2011
By the Book
It's hard critiquing someone else's work. There's the itch to fix it. (But she doesn't!) There's the urge to change it. (Nope!) And if you're not both mature enough to not take the critique personally, you can hurt each other. Ideally, you can both look at it and say, "Here's the problem. How will we fix it?"
I have a terrible time spotting the weaknesses in my writing. Absolutely terrible. I know they're there, lurking in the underbrush, waiting for an unsuspecting reader to stumble across them. I would prefer burying those weaknesses deep and planting some daffodils on top.
I just have to find them. That's where my critique partner rides to the rescue. She points them out with her scarlet pen. We weed them out as ruthlessly as possible. And then we slap down a wide variety of flowers on top...flowers that enhance the story instead the murky mess that was there before.
Eventually, when we've both done our best, I send the story off to my editor. And she looks at the roots with a mighty microscope. Sometimes she spies terrible bugs chomping away or slime oozing from the roots.
And we do more weeding. More weeding!
Finally, the day arrives when it's a shining example of word gardening. Then it becomes a book--a story I'm proud to share with friends and family and even total strangers.
But it all starts with the lonely critique partner. Bless her heart.