“Write your first draft with your heart. Edit it with your checkbook and a red pen.”
“Critiques are a necessary evil...but they don't have to be evil.” -Tweet This
While it is true that critiques are necessary for an indie author, they don’t have to be evil. If you’ve taken your time, selected well suited, like minded alpha and beta reviewers (and probably even gamma and delta reviewers…) then it needn’t be evil at all. The nature is in the name. Critique. From the painful “to criticize”. Yes, this manuscript is your masterpiece. Yes these characters are your children. But the reader is your paycheck, so you would do well to take their input into account when making revisions.
1. It’s Not Personal.
So don’t take it that way. If you’ve picked good reviewers then they’re not picking at your manuscript to be mean. Step back, remember that you asked them to do this and then ask yourself: are they right?
2. Be Confident.
Just because someone made a suggestion or asked a question doesn’t mean your story isn’t any good. If you honestly believe you’ve got something worthwhile on your hands you need to have the courage to stand by it and work out it’s flaws.
3. Make a Choice.
Not every suggestion is a good one. Not every correction is actually a mistake. Weigh your readers comments against your own knowledge of your voice and character. I tend to use a lot of fragment sentences in my prose. I will often get the note to change them to complete sentences and I must ask myself; is this change merited, or does it serve the voice of my writing? That is a choice only you, no editor, can make.
4. Three People Rule
Your piece should go through several rounds of editing. A good general rule is, if three or more people make the same suggestion, as the same question, or come to the same wrong conclusion, then you have made a mistake. And you have some changes to make.
5. Don’t Defend it.
This is a huge one for working with a critique group in person. Your work must stand for itself. You aren’t going to be at the elbow of every reader, tapping them on the shoulder so you can explain what you meant to say. Don’t argue with the reader if they find something confusing, off-putting or just plain boring. If that was your intent, then you're golden. If it wasn’t, then you have some rewriting to do.
Our manuscripts are our babies. So, like any good parent, lets whip them into shape so they can be the best book they can be!
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"Fiction gives the human soul a voice." - Helen Benedict
My thoughts on books, writing, inspiration, motivation and my incredible chosen proffession.