Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thick Skin

Oops! So I'm a day late on the blog chain and the topic is my own question! I asked the group:

Have you developed thick skin as a writer? How do you handle having your work critiqued? Do you love revising? Hate it?

For my latest novel, I've been lucky to receive A LOT of feedback. I received critique from three readers at a revision retreat, my mentor gave me great notes as part of a mentorship program, my critique partner, the amazing Kate, had very helpful comments, and my agent gave me a great editorial letter. Some of these critiques shared common threads, but of course the specific comments varied.

Revision is my favorite part of the process. I love the creative problem solving aspect and I get excited about weaving in new threads to the existing story. I like to think I have a thick skin and am open to critique, but for some reason, I find myself bristling when I first read editorial feedback. Interpretations are wrong and suggestions are impossible on first glance. But by the next day I'm usually agreeing with the critique and revisions are very doable if not exciting.

I know some authors cringe when they're told to delete a scene or change a plot point. That's all part of the fun. It's thrilling to make the puzzle pieces fit together. 

Line edits have much more of a sting. I can get discouraged when it's pointed out that I've described the love interest's warm brown eyes for the 50 millionth time and I use "just" in every sentence and characters ask each other if they're okay on every page. It's easy to get embarrassed and start questioning why I thought I could even write a book in the first place. That's when I look for those happy faces and "Good!"s in the manuscript to keep me going.

It's been great reading about how everyone handles critique. Check out Michelle's and Cole's take. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I need more reality

This round on the blog chain Sandra asks:

We all know it's important to read fiction if you want to write fiction, but what about reading non-fiction? How much non-fiction do you read? What kinds of non-fiction books do you read, and why? Has reading non-fiction influenced your fiction writing style?

Ummmm. So now I feel shallow and uneducated. I don't read a whole lot of non-fiction. I should. I should read the newspaper, and intellectual magazines, and books about our changing world, and all these things to expand my mind. But instead I mostly read about teenagers with super powers kissing.

My husband reads almost exclusively non-fiction. He reads books about science, and politics, and religion, and nutrition, and philosophy. He's always recommending things to me, but I just...don't. In all fairness, he rarely reads the latest YA I recommend to him.

The non-fiction books I do read are practical. So lately I've been reading a lot of baby books. Right now I'm reading one on baby-led weaning. I do listen to NPR. Or at least, I used to, when I had to commute to work. Now I stay home, take care of my baby, maybe read some YA, read about baby stuff, talk to other people about baby stuff. Oh god! I'm turning into one of those moms with mush for brains. Quick! I better start in on Stephen Hawking's latest book or something.

Hopefully Michelle and Cole are smarter than me and can recommend some good non-ficition