Thursday, May 13, 2010
Kill your darlings. Make it quick and merciful.
I recently joined a crit group, which has done wonders for my self esteem. Ah, the joys of receiving criticism. ;) No, really. Sometimes my ego needs to be knocked down a peg. And sometimes I need to be reminded to kill my darlings. Sometimes I need to be told which ones are darlings in the first place, those odd turns of phrase that I think contribute to the style of my writing, but are just weighing it down.
Do you need help to see which are your darlings? Or does your inner editor find them for you?
I've also found that the more feedback I get on my writing, the easier it is to read it from another person's point of view. To see what they're seeing, to experience what they're experiencing as they read. It's helped me to realize where I haven't succeeded in properly explaining my vision to the reader. And where I might want to change my vision to make things easier for the reader to understand.
Then there's the "Why didn't I think of that?" moment that sometimes comes after a particularly thoughtful crit. The analytical eye of someone you trust just might spot a better way to tell the story you've been slaving over, a story that's become far too familiar for its own good.
The truth is, that's why we need betas and critique partners. We are none of us infallible, spewing out perfect prose by the ream. Very few published authors got to that point on their own. It took editors, agents, and probably betas to help them get to where they are today. Hmmm, maybe we should start a "Beta Appreciation Week." ;)
Received any feedback lately that you've had mixed feelings over? I have to admit I have mixed feelings over every critique I get at first, even if it's sandwiched between compliments. (Mmm, compliment sandwich. *drools*) But with a little time, and a little fresh perspective, that sandwich usually goes down smooth.
Okay, I'm talking in food metaphors again, (Good Lord, I would so kill for an Abita right now) and that means it must be time for lunch.
See ya next time, y'all!