Monday, November 15, 2010

More tasty tidbits

You know, it's funny how once you've been under contract, you think others will clamor to have you too. I have learned, much to my astonishment, that this is not true. Dang.

The other thing that has surprised me is the complete opposite side of that coin. As strange as it seems, I often doubt my writing now. I had way too many experiences where my editor made me feel incompetent where my writing was concerned. I second guess myself all the time now and I hate it. I was afraid to show my critique group the ms that was under contract, but finally knew that if I wanted it to shine again, I needed to. I pulled up my big-girl pants and submitted it to them.

I was so surprised and happy with what they had to say. They gave wonderful praise and also much needed advice to make it better. This is where the topic for today comes in. Know your audience. My book is written for young teens. The mistake I found I was making was that I was writing for the kind of teen I was. Times have changed drastically.

One of the gals in my group is an English teacher at our local middle school. She informed me of all sorts of tasty tidbits I wasn't aware of. In fact, I was shocked at the details she opened my eyes to. I did not know, for instance, that if you witness a fight and a teacher shows up, you could be arrested for standing there doing nothing. Also, I did not know that they confiscate ALL cell phones so that the kids can't post the fight on the internet. Cell phones didn't even exist when I was a kid. Duh.

There's a scene at the beginning of my book where a fight takes place so I had to totally re-write it to make it modern and fitting and relate-able for the teens today. Thank heaven for great writer friends!

My point is this. Don't be afraid to ask for critiques (from other writers). Don't be afraid of your good friends, (who are writers) and don't trust the opinion of only one person. They may be way off and not giving you the right direction. Not all editors are created equal. Work hard to know your audience, work hard to know your craft so when you come up against someone who tries to make you feel incompetent, you are prepared.

Good luck and God speed.


The Red Angel said...

Experience is the best teacher for sure! :) I definitely know what you mean; I'm very self-conscious with my writing and often feel like every time I show my writing to somebody I am showing several
flaws. I even feel nude sometimes, because my writing shows so much about myself. 0_0

Ooh, I have to do that with my current novel...I've been working on it since 2008 and the times really change drastically in just a couple years! I have to update it to make it, as you say, "modern."

Thanks so much for your good advice. :)


Old Kitty said...

Yay for a wonderful critique group!!!! Great that they're helping you get your confidence back again!! Good luck too with your writing!! All the best! Take care

Annie McMahon said...

Very true. My critique group helped me more than anything, not only in improving my writing skills, but in regaining confidence when I had doubts.

I found that Twitter is also a great tool. I have kids going on a field trip in my MG novel, and I wasn't sure how many adults were required to go with them. I posted the question on Twitter. Within a few minutes, I had an answer... and had made a couple new friends in the process. :)

Anonymous said...

Can't find your email address to write a response (to the comment about the editor who made you doubt your writing ability).

Peggy Urry said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing. Love my critique group they are definitely invaluable!

kbrebes said...

I'm going to remember this! Thanks!

Renae W. Mackley said...

I love my critique group. Tee hee. You guys, um, I mean they have really helped my writing and editing skills.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Melissa, *Hugs* Good luck to you, too. Hang in there and ask Bryan for a bit of 'heavenly help' if you know what I mean. No, i don't mean sex.

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

But one is more fun than the other! he he

alexia said...

I'm glad you were able to get good feedback! Don't let that one publisher ruin your self confidence. I think we all get critical of ourselves as writers. Sometimes I love what I write, and sometimes I think it totally sucks! But the proper supportive feedback will let us know how we can improve without making us feel bad about it.

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