So I’m going to start this post off with a little story.
About five or six months ago, another writer friend of mine asked me to read her novel. It was a high fantasy novel about the same word count as Opus though for some reason like 70 million more pages.
It was really good. It was also really convoluted. Plots were twisty, characters were thrown left and right, cliches smattered many parts of the pages. So like I do, I did I full edit and work-up, complete with huge monoliths of text and amusing reaction photos of Nick Cage. It was so easy for me to climb out of the novel, take a look at it, and say what was wrong with it, why, and give copious amounts of feedback.
I never really grasped how it felt to be on the receiving end of said edits.
I do now.
Bitchcicle just sent me her thoughts about the end of Opus and right now I’m wishing for that objectivity I had with my friend’s novel. So far, in the hour or so since I’ve read her comments, the one thing I’ll say about receiving criticism is it sucks. And it makes you dissolve into a quivering blob of sad.
But it’s good for you and you should listen to it.
Because they are right and objectivity is the only thing that’ll save your ass.
It’s really hard to crawl out of your own novel. Because, of course, you read it and you think, “Jesus, I’m amazing! Look at how subtly this plot point is conveyed, look at the beautiful character arc, and ooh, ooh, look gorgeous prose!”
I personally think it’s even harder to give your perfect, beautiful prose to someone (especially as a fairly novice penmonkey in a sea of penmonkeys with long, pointy teeth and copious amounts of experience) and have to come to the realization that you suck.
Hear me out.
When you read your own book, your subconscious fills in the gaps in the story that you know should be filled with something. To others, those same character arcs will look more like those decaying aqueducts in Italy. When you think something is emotionally, tear-jerkingly powerful, odds are, it’s not. And when you think you have your reader’s attention every step of the way, you don’t.
That, dear readers, is what editing is for.
This is why we have people read our books. Yeah, it hurts. So we pick it up and move on. We edit and edit and force said same critique partners to read varying iterations of the same book until we get it right.
That’s my sage advice for the day.
So, full critique and editing. What exactly does that entail? Until next time, dear readers, until next time.
Thank you Bitchcicle, for the really helpful answers to my questions. I hope at some point in time, I will come to not suck.
Again, I repeat. Editing, dear readers, editing.