Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Highs and Lows

 Starting a new project is exciting. There's a spark and a buzz and the joy of creation. I watch the words fall onto the page, the voice emerge, the plot take shape and I'm full of hope.
This could be the one.
The project that finally works.
The book that someone loves.
The kick into the world of publishing.

When I'm in my bubble I love my work and my characters and my story.
It's a happy place. It is the cusp, the moment before anyone else reads it and points out all it's flaws.

Eventually of course, the bubble is burst and the reality sinks in.
Usually it's my lovely crit group that have the honour of ruining my life (Did I really tell them to be honest? Why??) but this time, with my very newest project I did something rather stupid.
Of course it seemed like a good idea at the time but really, sending out the first five pages and synopsis for a critique with a proper, real life editor?
What was I thinking?
Was I mad?
Well, unfortunately I must have been because that's exactly what I did and tomorrow night I have to go and hear the results face to face.

The Children's Book Circle run their Meet and Critique every year and last year I went for the first time and found it really useful. But then, last year I went with a completed manuscript and was ready to start revisions, this time I've submitted my work while still in it's infancy. While I'm still deeply attached to every word.

I usually submit work for crits after I've finished a first draft and when there's been a bit of distance. This allows me to take negative comments far more easily.

 I'm worried that having a professional opinion at such an early point could quite literally be devastating. If she hates it that could stop me in my creative tracks and plunge me into misery.
BUT, I guess I'm hoping that the editor will tell me, right now if the idea I've got is good enough and also show up any glaring problems in my synopsis. I'm hoping that she might be able to steer me in the right direction, inspire me and save me from months of work later on.

It could go either way.

It made me think about the difficulty of being an editor, I am in awe of their ability to look at a m.s and see where the strengths and weaknesses are but most of all, their skill in dealing with people.
It must be hard to give negative feedback and yet they have to do it probably every day and in a way that can be constructive and empowering.
I'm sure they must vary in their skills and some of it must depend on the relationship between author and editor and even between m.s and editor.

Personally I've had a few critiques now with editor and to be honest they've varied hugely. Some have been immensely helpful and I felt a real rapport with the editor, a couple have been a bit of a waste of time and I wished I'd saved the money!

Hopefully I will survive tomorrow, m.s unsavaged and creative spark still burning but who knows? Critiques are a tricky business but luckily I have arranged to go out for a drink afterwards so perhaps I'll be able to forget anything harsh after  a few pints of malibu and pineapple!

I will report back next week and let you know. (If I'm not in my pajamas, eating ice cream and watching Les Miserables of course!)

Wish me luck!


  1. Good luck, good luck! Of course, I'm absolutely certain you will come away with creativity intact and, hopefully, even more focused and inspired to keep on ... you can't keep a good story, or a good writer, down!

  2. Hmm, it's a tricky one. I took my current WIP to my crit group quite early and because my concept wasn't quite right, the plot got almost completely dismantled. I had several days of "why did I do that?" but then when it came to starting again I felt like I'd avoided the best part of a draft that would have been going down the wrong road. On the other hand, if I hadn't had to stop and start, might I have written that first draft quite quickly and easily? Impossible to know...

    1. It's a bit late for me to start worrying really isn't it? I've already sent off my pages and paid my money so will just have to tough it out however it goes! Hopefully, whether she loves it or hates it, it will give me something to work with. L x

  3. Hey Lorraine! I've only written about 5K words of mine - started after the retreat... I am sure it will still be happy hour somewhere after we leave the crits!

  4. HOW WAS IT???????????????????????