Last week I blogged about the need for writers circles and readers. We all need feedback from others, because nobody can objectively read their own material. As promised, this week’s blog shares some of the valuable comments I’ve received.
Projects 1, We Can Give Our Grandchild a Better World – The Next Golden Age: Diedre and I exchanged reviews of each other’s Proposal Packages. I definitely received more than I gave in this deal. First, she suggested that I add a list of endorsements (not the full endorsements) of my book and a list or description of potential follow up books. The endorsements say someone thinks your work is worth publishing, and the follow up books say there is potential for additional money to be made. Her comments on my Overview and Sample Chapters gave me new perspectives of different generation, gender, geography, and social/political viewpoints. These perspectives will help me re-edit my work to eliminate at least a few inadvertent offensive statements. Note: this is a currents events book, so it will have a sufficient population of intentionally controversial ideas. I don’t need unintentional discord.
Project 2, Sammy the Sock: This children’s book has received the widest review of my projects. Some of my kids and grandkids read it… and liked it. That told me I wasn’t totally off base. The children’s librarian at our local library was kind enough to read it. She also liked the story, especially the surprise ending. Great, a professional says it has merit and the “gimmick” worked. She recommended working on some of the dialogue that seemed stilted to her. Diedre took the time to give it a quick read, pointing out some areas where the tenses were ambiguous or confusing. Finally, I’ve sent it to a professional editor. She recommended adding more depth to the story by giving the main character deeper inner motivation. I pulled off a "two-fer" by adding more dialogue for the main character, which also enabled the character tell more of the story.
Project 3, The Princess and the Blacksmith’s Son: a short story about a dragon, a princess, and the hero that rescues her. (Yes, I have too many projects, but this one is now on the back burner until the above two are in the query stage). Through our writers club I was able to find two experienced writers willing to critique the project. They returned 12 pages of comments on my 20-page short story. I’ll spare you the details. What I found most interesting was that their comments were very different. One addressed more structural improvements, while the other emphasized improving character (and therefore story) details. The good news: both considered the project salvageable and worth salvaging, but needing a total rewrite.
Last thought, from The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published, “After you’ve sucked all the advice you can out of your readers, and made your edits, take the time to read your manuscript to yourself out loud. That’s right, your whole manuscript. Out loud. You’ll be surprised to discover how you’re suddenly able to hear sentences or passages that sound awkward.”
Good luck and happy editing.