I’ll be the first to admit it–I’m not a fan of criticism. Neither giving it or receiving it. In workshops, even when I know that someone’s writing isn’t exactly up to par, I’ll sugarcoat it with the most random compliments. I love the main character’s name. That one line was really funny!
And when I receive something outside of adulation in my own writing, I may react a little like this…
I’m completely distraught. I wave my fists at the world. Then I drop the story and move on to something else.
If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been a little (okay, a lot) absent from my blog. That’s because I’ve been a.) working on the first draft of my thesis paper, and b.) finally completing my first novel! We interrupt this post for a brief booty-shaking dance:
Find beta readers besides my cousin. Don’t get me wrong, I heart my cousin, and she gives me the morale boost I need to not just toss away this crazy notion of becoming a published writer. But we’re practically the same person. And if you’ve encountered either of us, that’s pretty scary. So I need maybe two or three others that can give me a fresh perspective on my novel. I plan on visiting the Absolute Write Water Cooler and Verla Kay Blue Boards to put in my requests. And if you haven’t by now, check out both of these sites–they’re on my sidebar!
Put my manuscript away. For a while. Maybe even for a month or two. This story is very personal to me, and I love all my characters. But it’s kind of like spending time with your family–you need to see them in small doses or you’ll get a little irritated. I don’t want my frustration to steer my story in the wrong direction.
Read all the input from my beta readers. Then,
Work on the major suggestions first. Does a character need to be changed? Does a side-plot not work? I know it seems crazy to tackle the huge issues first, but this is how I always did homework. I got history out of the way (boo! hiss!), and then rewarded myself with English.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
I know that this process seems lengthy, but if I want to be serious about the writing business, I definitely need to be serious about revising. What about you all? What’s your revising process? What works and what doesn’t work? I need all the help I can get!