Folks who read my Facebook page know the exact day that little exchange happened because I posted it on my wall.
What brings it to mind now is going through the critiques on The Simulacrum. And feeling the sting.
“C’mon! Can’t one line get by without an editor’s mark?”
“You’re kiddin’ me, right? You can’t mean that!”
“Whaddya mean, ‘not clear’? A ten-year-old could understand!”
“I liked that line!” (this last is usually spoken with a whine).
Yes. One of my critters lives in Nebraska, the other in New York. Well out of rifle range. Wise move on my part. I’d look awful in prison orange.
But they’re right. They usually are.
Just as I advise on this blog, slam cabinets if you must, but address your critiques with an open mind. I generally take my own advice where that’s concerned. After I calm down.
I have the best critters in the business, so I know I’m getting quality suggestions from them. Still, it stings to see that I make the same mistakes I catch my clients making. Elementary mistakes–telling instead of showing, not grounding my readers in the setting, skimming over reactions to vital stimuli. Like, “hey, she just found out her uncle’s dead. Doncha think she’d show a little emotion here?”
Hanging my head in shame, shame, shame. Goes to show ya: an author is notoriously blind to her own work. There is very little they marked that I wouldn’t have marked on someone else’s manuscript. Over the years, I’ve shown massive improvement in my work, and some things come naturally and easily. Some things I still need to work on. Same could be said for virtually every writer whose work I’ve read, published or otherwise.
That’s why we keep at it. Why we study and practice. As we write, and keep writing, some techniques become second nature. It’s also why we need critique partners and/or editors. Because some techniques we still need to practice–only we’re blind to them and to our mistakes.
Even editors need editors. And even editors feel the sting when critiqued.