Friday, January 7, 2011

of critiques and rewrites

Next week, mid-week, I leave for my writing retreat. Four days in a house on the Outer Banks, six children's book authors, plenty of chocolate and lap tops. And a whole lot of productive quiet, with breaks for meals and a hot tub and wine at the end of each evening. We work very hard over long hours on these retreats.  We deserve a little wine and hot tub under a wintry sky in the evenings.

I recently gave them, as well as my original first readers and a few others who have been supporters through my writing this manuscript the second draft.

One of my original readers has said he glanced at it and can see it's already obviously tighter than it was.

A less literary but very supportive reader (she hadn't read the prior draft, but has listened to my process of trying to write in mayhem for a long time now) has so far emailed me:

i started your book last night. i'm on chap 5. i really like it so far. the school scenes are so hard, you can feel his discomfort and anxiety. the bullys are repulsive. i hope the dog doesn't die. tell me he will be ok?

Oh good, that's a good start.

But then I got a lovely birthday call from an old friend and an original reader back in Boston, who told me exactly what I knew and didn't want to hear about the opening's rewrite, and I feel like I've been shot in the head.  Or may do it myself. (hyperbole folks - I am not suicidal)

I have to rewrite it again. I knew I did. It was one of the areas I specifically gave notes that I was not happy with how it turned out in draft two, please help. After a bit more talking and my lamenting to him, he told me it might be fixed with some pertinent dialogue in a particular place in the new opening scene.  Okay, I can handle that.  It's specific, it's doable.  I won't have to die trying in Draft Three next week. 

I can't wait to see what my writing group has to say.  It's probably going to start much the same as what my old friend said. So maybe I can wait...nah, I need to hear it and get busy on the rewrite. Help!

At least I got my histrionic response out on him, and will be able to accept their criticism more like an adult and a professional.  Good thing he's like a brother to me and can take it when I freak out.  He knows I am just frustrated by having to go back in and do it yet again.

So thanks, my brother in pens. if you see this, you know who you are.

Wish me luck, friends.  I will be gone much of next week.  Please tune in after for a report on results.


  1. good luck this week... may the "creative juices" flow, the words bounce onto your laptop, and your fingers don't get cramped... it they do - how glorious to partake of wine (perhaps some cheese & crackers) and a hot soak in the tub. Looking forward to hearing about the retreat when you return.


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