Monday, April 15, 2013

Can You Take It?

How have two weeks passed already? It doesn't seem possible, but it must be true, because it is time for another blog chain. Today Alyson is kicking things off with this question:

Have you developed thick skin as a writer? How do you handle having your work critiqued? Do you love revising? Hate it?

This is a wonderfully timely question, because RIGHT NOW (not right this exact minute, at this exact minute I am writing this blog post) I am working on my first round of editorial revisions for my book that will be coming out next year.

When I received the editorial letter from my wonderful editor, Erica Sussman at HarperTeen, I had the exact same reaction as did with the letter for ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE. And that was, "Wow. She is good."

I didn't feel hurt or upset or anything like that at all. This is no doubt because - once again - Erica is so wonderful and really good at saying, "This character is so great, BUT..." and then going on to list the things that need to be changed. The end result was that I didn't feel attacked, but rather like she and I were on the same team and had the same goal of trying to make my book be the best that it could possibly be.

And for me that was a really awesome and even empowering position, because (and I think most writers feel this way at some point, or at all points) after grinding my teeth through a first draft and then finishing it up and cleaning it up and sending it out - I was so close to it that I couldn't see the difference between what was total crap and what was golden.

I should also mention that besides my brilliant editor, I also get feedback throughout the terrible first drafting stage from my wonderful crit partner (and the creator of this topic) - Alyson. Her critique style is actually really similar to my editor's in that she makes sure to mention what is working, while also being totally straight-forward about the things that are stinking like last week's trash.

So I don't know if I've developed a thick skin, so much as I've been extremely lucky in finding really super people who give me the best critiques and notes ever.

Those are my thoughts for this blog chain, but this is only the start of it! Keep following along by checking out Sandra's blog tomorrow!


  1. I think it does help to have someone tell you the strengths as well as the weaknesses. My editor does this as well.

  2. It's always good to have someone critique your work who "gets you." I once had someone critique my work who basically thought I should change my entire writing style...which I didn't :) Nor did I ask his opinion again. Sometimes the divide in taste is too great for a helpful critique.