Now the Fun Begins!

Happy Friday everyone.  Don’t forget to visit me at the Scribes today and say “hi” to our special guest – Frankie Robertson. She’s discussing her move to indie publishing and her new, traditionally published book – Veiled Mirror.

After a few weeks of waiting, I’ve received critique for The Undead Space Initiative. The overall reception has been positive. The book isn’t perfect (nothing ever is) and I have a bunch of questions, comments and “things that may need more explaining” to sift through.

To my beta readers and critique partners – thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to read and comment on my book. The book will only be better because of you.

How should a writer deal with feedback? Gracefully is always a good place to start. Try not to stress about it or take it personally.

But, practically, you also can’t please everyone. Nor can you re-make the book is someone else’s image. Balance is necessary. Take what works for you and discard the rest. But don’t toss it completely away (more on this at the end of the post).

One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn is what should be changed or not changed based on critique. Monday’s Scribe – Jamie Pope- has done a great blog post on critique and I urge you to read it!

The two questions I always ask myself – Do I agree? Will the change make the book better?

Notice, I didn’t ask, “Do I like it?” It doesn’t matter if I like the feedback or not. It doesn’t matter whether I want to hear that I might need to change something.  If I agree, I suck it up, start evaluating, and make the changes.

Also, notice I said,  “If I agree.”

And I always try to apply the unused, technique-related feedback to my next novel. That way I can grow and improve as a writer.

Besides, I’m still the Author Goddess. And what I say goes.

17 thoughts on “Now the Fun Begins!

  1. Great advice Casey. One of these days soon I’ll have time to be part of the critique process again. I miss the give and take with other writers and I learn so much from reading other people’s work.

    Can we add another two hours to the day? Six a.m. to 1 a.m. just isn’t cutting it for me–LOL

    1. Ditto, here! A couple extra hours in the day . . . sounds good!

  2. Ussually I’ve found critique difficult to decipher. I like your positive take on it, Casey. Thank you for this post. I hope to use your words wisdom. And yes, more time in the day would certainly benefit us all!

    1. Thanks Joy! I’m still muddling my way through critique too. I think some of it is experience and confidence in your writing. And like Tam says – common themes are the ones you should pay speciall attention too.

  3. I like to get three to five people to read my manuscript, and if a couple make the same type of comments, then I know they are probably onto something. But if I don’t agree with someone, I get another opinion. And sometimes a third if I didn’t like those two 😉
    But finding that many fresh eyes to read my work can be difficult, since I tend to talk my local critique partners’ ears off while I’m plotting. By the time they read it, they already know the story, and they miss things cold readers might catch.
    Good post, Casey. You got me thinking!

    1. I know what you mean about fresh eyes. I try not to tell anyone about what I’m working on (so they don’t get The Doubt Monster going) and so I don’t burn them out! I think story burn out is a factor in how I deal with critique too. Do you find that you sometimes get so sick of the book you could scream?

  4. Yeah, and that is when my Doubt Monster is strongest, because if I’m bored with the book, how could anyone else like it? Irrational, I know, because I’m bored from over-reading it not because it is boring, but irrationality is what the Doubt Monster preys on best!

    1. So true. I don’t know about everyone else, but I still feel that pressure to hurry up, edit the darn thing and move on (that would be the Naggy Bunny). It is probably better to let the manuscript sit for a few weeks, but I never feel like I have that luxury. The old, out of sight, out of mind thing at play.

  5. Yeah, I agree. You don’t have to like the changes, but if the changes make for a better story you will probably end up liking them!

  6. Love the post, Casey (and, ahem, the PICTURE). It is a great way to keep critiques real. I sort of feel like the best critiques are the ones that make you slap yourself in the head and say, “Damn! How could I have missed that!” But now I am finding that to not always be true. Sometimes, when it comes from someone you respect and who knows what they are talking about, it amounts to sleeping on the suggested change and then giving it a trial run to see how it feels. I am surprised that even changes I was at first reluctant to make can improve so much upon the book.

    Love the post, honey, keep ’em coming!

    1. Thanks Tracy!! My reaction to critique has evolved to more of a “mull it over” kind of attitude rather than change everything at someone’s suggestion. And, yes, I love The Rock. He is so funny! He just popped into my mind as I was writing the post. I could hear him yelling – “it doesn’t matter what you want.”

  7. Casey, I like to save all critiques/opinions. You never know when you can use them, wherever. I have noticed that no one has a broken opinion. And everyone loves to give one. Do you have an opinion? You bet! Love these critique posts. Critiquing is tough to give too, don’t you think? Who wants to step on toes? Learning to be a good critiquer takes some skill and a gentle heart.

    1. Hi Gail. I absolutely save those critique comments. It’s funny how those comments can play a role in the next book so they are worthwhile to hang onto. Yes, critique is tough, both to give and receive. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Hey, Casey! Great job on USI. I love this story and can’t wait to see it in print for the world. (Neener, neener, everybody! I’ve seen the whole splendid manuscript.)

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