IWSG: When constructive criticism bites…

InsecureWritersSupportGroupI’m proud to be a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. All writers need a bit of a boost and who better to do it than other writers who understand how it feels. Here is my monthly post to provide help, advice and support for others…

Recently I had the privilege of getting a short face-to-face meeting with an agent, and when I say short I mean it – only 7 minutes. I was so nervous I fluffed my pitch and the agent didn’t particularly like my first page.  I left the session feeling very disheartened and almost deciding never to write again (yeah right).

Family and friends said it was just one person’s opinion and that I shouldn’t take it to heart. It was very difficult advice to follow because it’s hard when someone criticises your baby (and is a very well-known agent). But what it did do was make me look at my book objectively. I spent two years writing it, abandoned it for about three years and have spent the last 3 months editing so I’m as close to it as I’m going to get. What I’m able to do now is step back and try to see my book as a stranger would see it. And do you know what? The opening scene actually wasn’t that good. I was aiming for mysterious but it actual fact it was just a bit vague.

So I’ve rewritten it, made it punchier and in fact murdered someone. This has led to more rewriting and restructuring, taking out scenes later in the book where that person appears.  It will take a lot of work, but I believe this will make for a much stronger book.

So, while criticism is often hard to hear, make sure you do listen to it. You don’t need to act on every piece of advice, but be careful you don’t miss the nugget that could make all the difference.

The blog will be taking a break until mid-January while I wrestle with this book – thank goodness for Scrivener or I’d be going bonkers by now. As I’ve said before, I’m a writer who blogs and right now my book is what needs my undivided attention. So I’ll say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I’ll see you on the other side to talk about writing goals for 2014.

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7 thoughts on “IWSG: When constructive criticism bites…

Add yours

  1. I hear you! I have learned to listen to “criticism” (from worthy folks in the field) and that I have to sit with it for at least three days before I can actually hear what I’ve been told. I always end up coming out with a better-than-I-thought-I-could-do product. Great post!

  2. Good for you! What an excellent attitude you have. I’m sure there were some tears, but to pick yourself up and get back to work is what will make you an amazing writer and author.

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