An important part of the writing process is, unnervingly, letting other people read your work.
This is, as most writers can attest, absolutely terrifying.
What do you mean, other people have to read my work? Why would I want that? They’ll just judge it or hate it or think it’s a waste of time.
Or maybe that’s just my fear.
Of course, after the reading comes the critiquing. Which some might argue is even worse, but in my opinion, it’s better than the reading phase.
Now, I’m gonna proceed under the assumption that the readers in question are actually giving good feedback and not just saying, “cool story.”
When getting critique on your work, it can be so easy to get defensive. Your work is your baby, it’s perfect, and nothing needs to change.
But change isn’t necessarily bad. Sometimes, change can make your story better. Maybe your story just needs fresh eyes to take it to the next level. Maybe there’s a gaping plothole you haven’t noticed yet that needs to be addressed.
In the end, it’s better to just take the critique. After all, you don’t have to incorporate anything others say. Not all feedback is created equal. Sometimes the person has an idea that doesn’t fit at all with the tone or theme you’re going for. I remember one workshop I had where a classmate would, without fail, suggest some wild plot twist in his every critique, despite the genre or tone of the piece. I submitted a short story about a woman finding a letter from her recently deceased mother, and he suggested that instead of the letter she find a gun instead. Obviously, I did not make this change.
You know your story best, and you know what it needs to improve. Others can help, but they can’t rewrite the story for you.
What I wrote this week: Draft 4, Kita’s arc.
What I read this week: The Stone Sky by NK Jemisin; The Cruel Prince by Holly Black.