Thursday, December 15, 2011

It may not be pretty, but it's mine.

Before I shared my story with my critique group(s), I wanted it to be perfect.  I wanted to shine and polish it until it sparkled like prose straight off a Barnes and Noble shelf.  I wanted it to be flawless because then, of course, my critique partners would ooo and ahh and tell me what a genius I am.  Or at least, they wouldn't think I'm a hack. 

I didn't have a chance to polish my story up really pretty because, as I said a few days ago, I'm still working on it.  That's my excuse.  There's another, deeper reason, though.  One that I am ashamed to admit:  I didn't know how to make it perfect.  Yes, writing is subjective, but anyone who has judged a contest will know--some writing sucks, and some sparkles.  The piece that I shared with the group didn't sparkle.  It wasn't pretty.  It needed help.

Which was why I shared it.  At the end of the day, the ladies in my critique group are diverse readers and excellent writers.  They could step back, look at my story and say, "Here's what I would do."  If I had gone back to polish my story without any outside feedback, I know that I would have continued to make the same mistakes.  I might have switched around the word choices, but I wouldn't have made the deep re-structuring that the story needs to have a shot.

I am grateful to have a group with so much insight and patience.  Someday, I hope to be more skilled at re-writing and revising.  Is it a skill that can be developed with time?  Any suggestions or recommendations for improving?

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