Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It's Sadistic Really

Yes, it is. I don't know what it is about writers (or maybe it's just me) but we are a sadistic and weird bunch.

...Let me explain before any odd ball notions get planted here. Too late you say? Oh, well...(heehee)

I sat down at lunch break and checked my personal mail.

What did I find?

The first round edits from my editor. I read through the email that contained overall pros and cons of the story and my writing. Then I peeked into the document and found all the red marks of the change tracker throughout the file.

What did I do?

I stood and did a little gleeful booty dance. That's what I did.

Now, why would I dance at the mark ups of my work? My precious piece of art that took a little sliver of my soul? There's a couple reasons. The first is my day job. It's a business setting where I work with management to come up with ideas that will keep the organization solvent. Then I build proposal and try to "sell" my executive team on them.

By its very nature this comes with a lot of technical review, political mumbo jumbo, and praise or criticism. They'll either love it or hate it. Rarely does the project fall into the middle "okay" ground. I've had to learn to accept this, and respond in a professional and non personal level. Sometimes that's standing my ground, sometimes it's compromising, and sometimes it's knowing when to let it go.

Writing is more personal. Yes, yes. I know you're thinking that. And you're right. Several years ago, I probably would've cried if this came back to me from an editor or critique partner. Okay...I did cry the first time this happened to me. It is personal. I poured out my creativity and tapped into emotions to make this story how I envisioned it.

But at the end of the day, I want this book in the hands of a reader, preferably lots of readers. To do that, like in my day job, means a couple specific things:
  1. Checking my ego at the door
  2. Putting my work into the hands and review of others
  3. Accepting those professionals have my work in their best interest
  4. Understanding the revisions of my work will result in a better portrayal of my vision

So far, these key points have not failed me. The end result of editing rounds has always been a better story.

Let's face it, I've read through Duty and Devotion hundreds of times. My eye is not catching another mistake or weird sentence. It's just not. The fresh eyes of my editor spotted things that, if published as is, would've been embarrassing or confusing (which leads back to embarrassing).

So, yes, I did shake a little excited booty and am ready to find out all the errors of my ways with Duty and Devotion. It's going to be exciting and challenging...and ultimately rewarding.

How do you all take criticism of your work? Are there specific points you follow to keep the experience positive?


  1. Lovely post, sadism and all.
    Liz Arnold
    Message to Love
    The Wild Rose Press

  2. I let myself cry. THEN, I get professional and work my way through the revisions. Book two is on my editor's desk. I await the revisions with mixed emotions. On one hand, I know they'll be fewer than on book one because I learned what my editor tried to teach me. But there is always that little nagging voice wondering if the story is awful, if they'll have to throw the whole thing away, if I'll have to rewrite the whole plot.

    It's sadistic in some twisted way. I like the way you express it. When you can face revisions with a smile, you've reached a professional level of writing. It's all in the attitude you bring.

  3. I handle it a lot like you now. And yes, my first crit made me cringe and cry. Now I know and want a cp or editor to find things I've overlooked. Like recently in one sfr I wrote, ...the moons on Preis Two... my cp caught it-- should be the moons of Preis Two. I know that's a small thing, but honestly I didn't catch it. Another from Forbidden Love-- my hero T'Kon does not use contractions. My editor found a few in his dialogue during final edits. lol, Bless her.