Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Painful Truth

So this comes from experience, as most unpublished writers might have experienced. A few days ago, the manuscript I cherished and loved, put tender care into (literally sometimes thinking over just the right words), got a fierce slap in the face. One of my critique partners tore it shreds, beat it to a pulp, and stomped on it.

However, those shreds weren't burned, the pulp not used for a shake, or that boot that did the stomping was more like a slipper. The slap in the face was like fuzzy gloves.

While her comments reached the very core of my story, showing me there was no true plot. Nothing connected with linear progression any more. The truth was that my manuscript, over the six years that I constantly edited it and attempted to make stronger, lost a plot. I did so much world building and added so much mythology to my land that I lost sight of my MC's purpose. He was simply walking, doing what he was told and forced to believe it. Nothing was personal to him anymore.

She told me...and here is where I swallowed hard...that I needed to trunk the project, scrap the version it became after six years, and start fresh.

I wanted to pull out my hair!

However, I knew that with all the overwhelming comments she supplied, she must have seen something in it if praise and encouragement equaled those comments. She continued to tell me the parts she liked and should be expanded. But moreover, I needed to start a fresh relationship with my MC. I needed to get more into his head.

Thus, trunking the project and starting something new. I'll return to my baby, my first manuscript, because I AM CERTAIN my story has potential.

If not for my critique partner(s) being truthful to me, I would have continued to edit and possibly query a manuscript that had no plot. I'm thankful to have such fantastic partners who care as much for me as if they knew me in real life. Although we only contact each other through chat forums and email, they never fail to impress me.

Are your critique partners up to par? Mine are!

Peace and Writing Love,



  1. I have two awesome crit partners, and they have both made excellent suggestions, caught all my passive voices, and never let anything slip by. Sure it bruised my ego a bit but after I got over it I nearly always realized they were right.

  2. I never believe anyone who tells me there's nothing wrong with my pet project; even now that I'm querying it. Doesn't mean I'm going to act on everything said, but I take it to heart, and am grateful for critters who feel they can give me constructive feedback.

    When I discovered my novel lacked a distinctive plot, I ended up breaking it into first two, then three novels. I'm still cutting on a lot of the last two in the trilogy, but I'm more satisfied with it.

    I haven't completely shelved the novel(s), but I've found ways of adding new life to it through some writing experiments, blog fests, and writing on other projects.

    I've also had to tell a couple authors their aswesome stories lacked plot. Movement, action, emotion a plenty; but no direction.

    I know how hard it was for your crit partner to give you that feedback; but I also know you will be able to rise to the challenge and discover where you lost the plot. I've been following your world and your characters and they have heart, and viability.

    The hardest part is behind you Justin. It is a complete concept. Set it aside and breath and relish the accomplishment for a bit.

    Hang in there Dude; it isn't over for Valence.


  3. @Donna Hole: Thanks for the encouragement. I'll come back to Valence when I'm ready.

  4. I cried when I shelved GEM. So, I feel your pain. But we crit partners are here for you. :)


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