This is just going to be a quick post. My MS is open in another tab and I can hardly wait to jump in and keep working on it. Some thoughts on this feedback and revision process that I’m going through right now.
- It doesn’t hurt as much as I thought it might
I wasn’t sure how I would feel about getting feedback. I don’t always take it well. At home, for instance, if a dish gets sent back because it’s not washed properly, something inside me stiffens and gets defensive. How much more for a novel that I’ve been living with for years now?
Actually, the process has been amazing. All I feel for the clear, honest thoughts my readers have shared with me is gratitude. Great big huge dollops of it. They’ve taken some of the load off me. They’ve helped me to see better. The process is going to make my story so, so, so much stronger a as result. Wow, fantastic.
- A couple of good readers is plenty for now
I may have already mentioned that in a wild moment of excitement, I gave my MS to seven people to read. SEVEN. I know, crazy right? I’ve had feedback from two of them and it has given me everything I need to significantly overhaul the next version. Though I feel a little bad about it, I haven’t been able to wait for the rest. Next time I’ll go out to fewer readers, though readers I know I trust, with a clearer request regarding timeframes.
- Writers make good readers for a troubled draft
This is a little bit pre-emptive since my other readers haven’t responded yet, but I’ve been really impressed with how insightful and constructive the suggestions have been that I’ve received from my friends who are also writers. I think this is partly because they have both struggled through this process themselves a number of times. They know what they are looking at, in a draft, and they see some of the pitfalls that they have fallen into themselves. I think for a later draft it will be great to get feedback from non-writing readers, when it’s closer to being finished, but at this point in the process, writers rock.
- I knew everything already
Everything people has told me is problematic on some level of consciousness I already knew. Sometimes intellectually, sometimes with a gut response, sometimes through a kind of niggling unsettled feeling that always came to me as I’d read that section. This fourth draft that I’m working on is about really listening to all of my instincts, to everything I know and sense, about every aspect of the story and following through on it. I’ve gotten rid of characters. I’ve cut descriptions and dialogue that didn’t quite sit right. I’ve thought about character motivation for every aspect of every scene. I’ve connected things up better. And now I’ve reached a point very near the end of the current version and I’ve added a new element that had been in the back of my head but had never quite made it to a draft.A twist, no less!
Now back to work!