I was so excited to sit down and write today. I was halfway through Chapter 20 and I couldn’t wait to get to Chapter 21. It was going to be a great one, emotionally harrowing with a twist that even I hadn’t seen coming and I’m writing it.
Impatience got the better of me, I wanted to write Chapter 21 and I wanted to write it now. Abandoning Chapter 20 I started on my new idea. About five minutes in I stopped.
‘What was wrong with Chapter 20?’ I thought. ‘How had I been able to put it down so easily?’
I reread it and it was a bit, well, boring. And if I felt bored writing it, how could I realistically expect anyone to enjoy reading it? I may be a novice writer but even I could tell that something was wrong. I wanted to feel the same passion for all my chapters, to not treat any of them as something to ‘get through’ to get to the next one.
Chapter 20 I realised was a bridge to get to Chapter 21 and it wasn’t constructed out of the most stimulating material. Taking a lesson from the three little pigs I huffed, and I puffed until it blew down and I started building it again. It is now a chapter to be proud of and I have learned that if I am not loving the writing it’s more than likely the content and something I can fix.
Chapter 22 though, that’s another story……..
As I new writer I have done something that will probably have all you seasoned novelists covering your face and shaking your head in despair. I (whispers) showed my first draft to someone to get an opinion. Not just someone either. My sister. Much as I love her she is always guaranteed to call a spade a spade. I knew that, but I did it anyway.
Attempting my first piece of writing over 100 words has been overwhelming. I love to read books but trying to create one, well, if you’ve tried, you know. I never thought it would be easy but, shrugs.
So I plotted, created characters and wrote and at 15,000 words broke into a cold sweat. Did this make any sense? Was it engaging? Could I do this? Even though this was a rough first draft I guess I wanted validation that I had something worth developing, worth all the hours, the waking at 3 am to tweak the plot or finish the chapter.
I emailed it over to my sister. I knew I could rely on her to be totally honest with me. And she was. ‘It’s so depressing it made me want to slit my wrists and not carry on reading. Oh and I don’t like your language.’
Hmmm ok. Let’s not point out that I haven’t actually reached the really sad bit in the middle yet.
I know she is trying to support me and I appreciate her help. I will take her comments on board and am sure that when I have finished wiping my tears off the keyboard I will carry on. Next time I ask for an opinion I will keep the following words in mind: –
“Don’t let people’s compliments go to your head and don’t let their criticism go to your heart”.
So, how do you deal with criticism – constructive or otherwise?