Monday, April 9, 2012

Receiving My First Real Critique

Barring emergencies, sick kids, and the like, today my manuscript ("MS") is "critted" for the first time.

Crises so far:

1. I ran out of paper for the printer.

2. My daughter doesn't feel very well, again (PLEASE let her just be tired!)

3. I'm terrified due to my inability to have confidence in my writing, lol

4. My legs aren't shaved!

 I know what you're thinking: Soooo wear pants! But it's more the idea behind the problem than the problem, itself. Fortunately, I have two hours in which to shave, get more paper for the printer, knock my child unconscious, and regain my self-esteem.

We can do this.

We can do this..

And, no, I'm not certain why I used the "Royal We" but it was somehow necessary.

There's something to be said about voluntarily handing your hard work to someone else specifically so they can correct it. At its face-value, it's a rather depressing thought. But up close and personal, it's a useful and wonderful thing. When you're writing, you get lost in these scenes that are playing through your head and you jot them down, often not realizing that would you're seeing isn't coming across verbally. And you, as the author, have a perspective of the book that no one else possibly ever could. So when you re-read your work, you see the scene instead of the words.

Having someone sit down and work with you isn't a nicety. It's almost a "must do".

And so.... here I am.

Sitting in front of me is a printed copy (well, 50 pages or so) of my MS.

It's an outpouring from my heart, my mind, and my soul (and other places *snort snort*).

There was something magical about the moment I saw the first page leave the printer. No longer words on a screen, disconnected from everyone and everything but my own eyes; it was now almost a living object. Animated by the value I place upon it and realized by the ink on the paper.

My characters were now in the Real World.

I pick up the pages from the printer, straightening them with a gentle touch.

This is mine.

This is from me.

These aren't pages, these are pictures birthed by my mind. And now I place them into the care of someone else.

What will happen to them? Will they be rejected? Will they be lauded for their magnificence?

How does a piece of paper and jumbling of symbols cohesively organized into language become an artifact of such meaning?

So a cheer to those who have bridged the gap from the visions of their mind to the papers in our hands. And a thanks to them, for a piece of their heart is built-in to every word they ink.

So often is the virgin sheet of paper more real than what one has to say, and so often one regrets having marred it.  ~Harold Acton, Memoirs of an Aesthete, 1948


  1. A critique can sometimes feel like being punched in the gut, and other times like you've won a Pulitzer. Neither is particularly representitive of how others view your writing, or you. But being able to change something and know that it's better is a very rewarding experience, I find.  Hope it goes well.



  2. Thank you for your well-wishes!

    And I totally agree. I had a friend read the first few chapters and offer some advice and it was awesome watching the story just become that much better. Having a real writer critique my work was nerve wracking, lol.

    Unfortunately, it didn't go well, but not because of the manuscript: my daughter, who woke up happy from her nap, got sick while we were there. Poor baby. Ah, well. :)



I would love to hear what you have to think! Please remember your manners and I'll try to do the same. ;)