A few days ago, the five year-old in my life, was having a bad moment. Denied her request for Coke, she’d been crying for several minutes when she sobbed, “I’m afraid this is never going to end!” I know how she feels, though I’m not referring to tears (yet). My writing has been up for critique twice this week, once in my regular writing group and, for the first time, I submitted an excerpt for a “blind” critique at MissSnarksFirstVictim.
Although I appreciate any bit of praise I get (believe me, I need it) I also know that my writing skills will not advance unless I understand where I’m lacking. People who don’t have to look you in the eye, or even speak to you again, can be more honest in critique. Some of the comments I received in the blind critique were mostly favorable and helpful, a couple were not helpful because this was a chapter ending contest and the reader was confused not knowing what had come before this excerpt, another couple were not favorable nor helpful, but a few, though not favorable, were helpful because they pointed out valid problems. In the end, I learned what I thought was a good chapter ending—is not. It should be the opening for the next chapter.
Once I accepted this, I looked back at the previous scene and realized that I’d tied up that one in a pretty bow too, so it wouldn’t make a good ending either. But here’s the thing, rereading that scene I realized I hadn’t conveyed the real import of the character’s thought at that point. The addition of a single line, not only corrected that mistake, but gave a hook to lead into the next chapter.
I’d written, edited, revised, and re-edited this chapter in question, and still hadn’t seen these problems. So today I’m thinking about the time-frame for completing this novel and crying, “I’m afraid this is never going to end!”