A Step Forward

Monday, March 7, 2011

I've been doing a lot of writing lately--oh wait, when have I ever not been doing a lot of writing? Anyway, I've been doing a lot of writing this past year, and especially this week. I've been letting a couple of people (blogging friends and one friend in real life) read my writing. They mostly just told me that it was really great. 


Then, I told them to tell me anything that was confusing/they didn't think quite worked. And I got a lot of awesome feedback. I'll share with you a couple of the things that was said about my book The Warrior.
"As it is right now I would set this book back on the shelf after reading what you’ve got here. Develop Courtney’s character more. This isn’t a chapter, it’s a summary. The camp experience, her home life, and her discovery of the fog/falling/etc can each be made into a full-length chapter. Easily. Courtney is this polished, pristine, perfect jock girl and she’s far too unrealistic. I’m sorry, and I know this was all very harsh, but this is not good writing and I am positive you can do better."

 (For reputation purposes, I am not going to name names.)  You are probably thinking that that was a super harsh comment and should not have been said. I beg to differ. This was sent to me from a girl I met through our blogs. I don't actually know her that well, but she is a super good writer, so I thought I would send her my work. I was shocked when I got this back, but I was happy for it too. The truth is that I had realized this in the back of my head weeks before I actually send it to the girl, but I was fighting with the story to make it the way I wanted it to be. There is one simple rule which everyone eventually ends up following: There is not possible way to write a story without the story fighting to tell it the right way. You can't fight the truth, it's utterly impossible. There is a certain way which the story is meant to be told, and if you're telling it the wrong way, your story is going to fight back, and no matter how hard you try, it's always, ALWAYS going to win.

I just kept thinking "Courtney has to be perfect, she's the WARRIOR!" But no human being is perfect. Therefore, Courtney is either not a human being, or needs a major character fix.

"Personally, this whole battle thing seems to be set up kinda oddly and confusingly."
This had actually come to my attention while I was writing. I knew the whole battle thing was very confusing and made absolutely no sense whatsoever, but I was so eager to get to the action that I didn't want to take the time to actually fix the problem.

"I think at this point I should be able to picture Calorgrid in my head, but I can't."
Again, I was trying to get quickly to the explanations and details and get straight to the action. But there is no possible way that anyone can write a good book without explaining things well. You can't get straight to the action.

The bottom line is that I was fighting my story, I wanted Courtney to be Perfect, and I wanted to get straight to the action. And I had to figure out what I was going to do about it. I couldn't just keep writing the way I was.

So, I majorly adjusted Courtney's Character, not to mention the fact that I'm in a huge process of rewriting the first 6 chapters (which I plan to get done with this week), and adding tons and tons more detail (but not so much that the reader will get bored).

Sometimes you don't catch things until it seems  impossible to fix them--I'm just glad that I've caught these things now, and have saved myself from even more rewriting. I'm glad that I've chosen to fix the problems now and not wait until later.

You all a probably thinking that such bad things have been said about my writing that I'm so discouraged and that I'd be afraid of writing now. First of all, what they said was actually not that bad. They were both just trying to help (which they did), and it didn't seem harsh to me in the least. But they also said some really nice things about it too:
That is much, much better. She has flaws and thus has a believable personality. Much better.
That was said after I sent her the rewritten version of the first page.
You're so good at writing down your ideas and making your reader want to turn the page.
I like how Courtney is discovering who she really is and that it's so different from what she thought she was.
I like that you put Caleb in here because it shows that Calorgrid isn't just this perfect little sunshine and rainbow land.
So what I'm saying is that, I wasn't discouraged in the least by what these two girls said. I'm actually very thankful that they took their time to read my work and that they weren't afraid to speak out and tell me what was wrong.

Those are my writing updates, and as a small request, I would love it if you all would check out my post at my writing blog, HERE.

Thanks so much for reading, and I'll be back in a couple of days with a new post.

2 comments:

  1. Megan, I think we have the same problem; I'm always jumping into action and not giving enough detail. :-/ But, I'm so glad you fixed that! And I'm writing a new book; with lots of detail! ;) Are you going to send some of your book/books to me in the Pay it Forward?

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  2. Wow, that takes a lot to be able to take criticism like you did! Way to go. =) I agree with you - it's definitely important to share you work, take criticism and USE the criticism/advice to make it better! My dad has offered to read my stories and tell me honestly what he thinks about them, and even though it is a bit embarrassing at first for people to spot out all my mistakes, it helps a lot because it makes my writing a whole lot better. Sorry, didn't meant to make this comment a paragraph. I always do that. :P

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