I am lucky enough to have gotten into #sunvssnow. We put up our query letter and our first 250 words. Then the magic happens. Writers critique the crap out of your work and then you fix it!
Alright. As unexciting as that all sounds, it really is magical I promise. But I will admit that when I found out that up to thirteen people would be critiquing my work, I was both nervous about their comments and what I would do with them. What do you take to heart and what do you ignore? So many opinions, but who has the right one? Here is what I have learned.
1) Look for the trends. What are the readers saying that is similar? I found that even though the readers could see each others’ comments, there were lots of commonalities. They agreed with each other on many issues I needed to fix. The consensus definitely helped me make a decision.
2) Choose what is most important. There were suggestions that I thought would absolutely help the story that I was trying to show (not tell). That was one piece of feedback; I was telling too much and not showing enough. Jump right into the action. That was important to me. I definitely didn’t want to bore my reader on the first page. I knew that was something I had to rework.
3) Remember everything is subjective. The people reading your work are just that, people. They have opinions on what they do and don’t like. If one person gives feedback that you don’t deem as important and necessary, throw it out. That’s okay. They won’t be crushed because you made an artistic decision. It just means you actually made a decision.
4) First thing’s first. If you are on a time crunch, choose the edits that are going to get you the most results in the time you have. Obviously, changing the perspective from first to third in four days is going to be a stretch. But look at what is doable and what will help you out the most. Then continue edits later as needed.
5) Be open minded. You cannot go into getting critiqued already on the defensive. If your work is perfect, why did you offer it up to those who could potentially shred it? Why are you not already represented and on published shelves? Take this opportunity to learn and grow as a writer. The authors have had amazing feedback for me and I am really grateful they took their time to help me.
Shoutout to all the amazing women who read my work and were kind enough to leave extensive comments. Your generosity is truly appreciated.