Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I Get by with a Little Help from my Friends



A combination of my (black) and Jennifer's (orange) edits
for Fatal Threads, V9
It seems like most days, if I'm not writing, I'm reading about writing. The one thing I've learned, the absolute truth I can count on, is writing is rewriting. If you don't like to rework something, then don't even bother attempting the writing process. Me, I like to work on something until I love it. And even then I'm not always satisfied. A little tweak here, a better word choice there. But the single most effective way to learn to be a better writer is to let someone else read your work. Someone else you trust. Or even better, someone else you think secretly hates you. Having the skin of a rhinoceros doesn't hurt either, because your early readers will tell you what they think, at least the good ones. Other writers I know are less inclined to freely hand their work over. Some fear being judged; others say they don't feel their work is ready. I say: go on and judge! Judge the heck out of my work, because if what you have to say is valid, I will take it into consideration. It makes my writing stronger. Several people read early drafts of Fatal Threads. I mean, really early (sorry, Meryl. I know V3 was probably not the best cut). Others were lucky enough to get later versions. Many of my early readers were punctuation freaks; others had a ninja eye for spelling. Some rewrote sentences, and often their restructure or wording was better than mine, sometimes not. My husband and my friend Michelle both printed and bound not only their copies, but one for me as well. That was great. But in the end, by the time I'd reached V12, I had cut around 12,000 words and reworked the opening over a hundred times. It had to be right.

My friend Jennifer really went the distance with my manuscript, though. You can see from the markup how enthusiastic she was about my story, and how determined she was to help me get it right! She found plot flaws, grammatical errors, and inconsistencies. The woman is an editing powerhouse. I owe her a huge debt of gratitude! I got it now, Jenn. You're = you are. I swear I won't make that mistake again! I laughed way too hard to ever forget! 

So, to all my early readers, thanks! You've made me a better writer.  

A few things I keep close at hand

2 comments:

  1. I agree. THere's nothing as helpful as a great crit partner. I rely on them so much and want total honesty. I try not to get too caught up in revisions tho, til after I'm done with entire story.

    New follower. Nice to meet you! :)

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  2. Thanks! They are truly invaluable. Jennifer just happens to be visiting me this week from the East coast, so I'm picking her brain! Thanks for visiting my blog. Much appreciated.

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