Monday, October 22, 2012
Criticism, Revisions and the Like...
Every writer knows about revisions and helpful criticism. It is part of the writing life. First we write the story, then we have a few people read it (perhaps a critique group.) If there are four people in the group, you might receive four different views, various criticisms and error findings. This is all good. What one misses the other catches. The more input, the better. We take what's beneficial and then we send it off to our agent or editor. In most cases the manuscript will be returned with requested revisions.
It is best not to view suggested revisions as negative criticism. Sometimes we get too attached to our way of telling a story, when there is indeed a better way to do it. Besides, criticism is good. It teaches us to write better and turn out a good manuscript. While nobody likes criticism, it is simply something we, as writers, have to accept and acknowledge. Criticism is not meant to hinder, but to push us forward.
Rarely will we not be advised of needed revisions in order to make our book worthy of publication, and even some published novels/books still have an error or two.
Sometimes I think it is impossible to submit a perfect manuscript. The goal is to try our best to polish it and abide by the suggestions of our agent and/or editor. It is always best to strive for an error-free submission. Our good work reflects on those who represent and publish us.
A critique partner or group is a must. It is like having another or several pairs of eyes to catch errors and awkward sentences that we miss. There have been times when I've read my own work several times and missed the same error that a member of my critique group spotted right off. It also saves the agent or editor from sorting through a barrage of errors. There will probably still be changes needed, but the manuscript will be tighter and cleaner after the critique group or partner went through it.
Best to not rush revisions and resubmit a clean manuscript than to hurry the changes, in order to get it back to an agent or editor as soon as possible. Unless of course, there is a deadline. Even then, find a time when you can work at a calm pace and not feel rushed to get to other work, chores, and so forth.
Hey, being asked for revisions is never a bad thing. It certainly beats a rejection, and even then, we learn something through the experience.
So, revise on! Welcome criticism and add the knowledge gained from it to your next novel or non-fiction book. Imagine how it was back in the day of typewriters and no computers? Now,that would make revisions quite the dreaded challenge.