Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Persevering through those Dreaded Critiques and Rewrites

By Danie Marie

The word critique often strikes fear in a new writer, or even an old sage, because what we've written is our baby, born from the depths of our being. Thus, crossing the threshold into an established critique group can feel rather daunting. We glance at the onlookers and wonder what they're thinking. "Who's this newbie?" "I hope they're worth my time." "I hope their writing isn't juvenile." I hope they accept me.

The following meeting we sit with bated breath, as each person hands back our masterpiece, praying they loved our prose.

But then we look down.

Red lettering litters our pages.

Like surgeons our words or entire sentences or, gasp, entire paragraphs are crossed out. The rest of the hour the wall clock ticks an eternity before it's time to leave and we can dash out the door. Hopes tramped upon, like the proverbial puppy with his tail between his legs, we head home to our safe haven and lock the door.

I'll venture to say, if you've been to a critique group, at some point that "puppy" was you. The question is, do we want an honest assessment of our writing or not? Do we want our words to shine, to grab the reader and hold their attention? If our novel/non-fiction doesn't do that, we're wasting our time. Readers will trash our work before they get past page one.

Like it or not critiques and rewrites are essential.

Ever been in a writing group where a new writer's work had potential but their tender heart couldn't handle constructive criticism and they quit? If we're honest, we've all been stung by at least one harsh critique. But we want our writing to be the best it can, right? Then we've got to develop a bit of toughness to endure this journey to publication or readers will miss the blessing of our writing.

My friend John is fond of saying, "Take my critique with a bag o' salt." That’s the attitude we writers need. We dig into those rewrites and weigh the advice given­­--keep what's helpful and toss the rest.

Once we discover new ways of using a cliché or we've written a sentence that sings … timbres of excitement burst within. We come to understand the importance of critiques and rewrites, and we realize a treasure of words resides within us that until now has been untapped. Rewrites are no longer tedious, but fun. Our writing improves, and once we've made our project the best we can, it's time to write the dreaded query letter (a topic on its own), and once accepted, we mail our manuscript to a publisher.

As a side note, I spent five and a half years working on my debut novel Kellen's Hope and it was well worth the time. It's receiving five stars by reviewers, so don't give up. Perseverance is a key we writers had better not lose.
Danie Marie is a novelist and inspirational speaker who loves laughter. She was born (1953) and raised in California. She and her husband now reside in N.CA., and love it there. Her debut novel Kellen's Hope (Romance/Tragedy/Mystery/Suspense) released February 2014. Blessed with the gift of evangelism, she has also discipled many over the years. She is a graduate of the 2012 Christian Communicators Conference and has attended writer’s conferences in Canada, Colorado, and the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in California, a number of times. Her goal as a writer is to engage her readers and draw them into the lives of her characters—to inspire, encourage, challenge and entertain—to enrich the lives of her readers and imprint a lasting message of hope. Her social media links
2012 Christian Communicators Conference Graduate
Inspire Christian Writers   Christian Writers Group International, Inc.

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