What if I have an ugly baby and don’t know it?

How can you edit a book you love? My critique partners will attest to my ability to be a nitpicky line editor, so I have no problem doing the same with my own writing. What I’m having a problem with is looking at the plot objectively.

My novel?
My novel?

I wrote this story. I like this story. Correction: I love this story. But do I love this story like a mother loves her child—no matter what? Or am I right to love this story? Does it deserve my love?

If I had written the story just for myself, I wouldn’t even question this. My goal, however, is to see this novel published, therefore I don’t have the luxury of not questioning.

That brings me to another question.

I plan to ask both writers and non-writers to beta-read this novel. What if those who are just readers like the plot, but the writers find problems with it? Or vice versa? Whose opinion should I value more?

Bah! I’m just borrowing trouble, now!

24 thoughts on “What if I have an ugly baby and don’t know it?

  1. I was thinking along of the lines of deal with it when you get there as well. Just remember, all of us are ugly to some out there. But, beautiful as well. Time to cut the cord
    🙂

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    1. Wow, Jennifer, way to power through getting caught up on blog posts! I’m flattered you took the time.

      Ha, you’ve found me out. I’m reluctant to let this story go. Luckily, with only fifty pages left in this round, I can see I have several scenes to expand. I’m not only a lead-footed driver, I’m a lead-fingered writer! 🙂

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  2. Well, my only insight is that if the goal is to have the work published, then the viewpoint of the reader should be more important than the writer. As that viewpoint will be the one to leverage a publishing house into printing your work.

    However, if you love your story, then you have achieved a much more difficult goal, as we are often our own toughest critics.

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  3. Hi, Linda!

    I think you definitely need outside eyes – readers and writers (mentors are good if you can get one). I know just how you feel. After I finished my book, I told my old professor that I wanted three people to read it, so I would have a basis of comparison to help me decide which advice was most valid. He said, “You forgot the most important voice in all this. Your own.” He was right, of course, but as I launch into the 2nd rewrite, I still wrestle with these very same things.

    … I think the fact that you care enough to question your work is a good thing. As long as you don’t let it cripple your forward progress (all the way to publication).

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    1. Oh, I have my good days and bad days, but I’m not about to give up now. I don’t mind having more to learn, I just hate not knowing what that is. Some things I just don’t see until someone else points it out. Moving on.

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  4. Hi Linda,

    It is hard to let a story go. I found that out with my last edit. It seemed so final before I sent it off. I’ve also been told I over think. It’s hard not to because writing is such a personal thing. I’m trying not to over think as publication grows handy. Too late now to worry about such things anyway.

    Just keep your head down and charge on through. It’ll be fantastic I’m sure.

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      1. It’s been gone over several times during the editing process and I found out that I will actually have to proofread it one more time before it goes to the printer. I really don’t have any choice now but all those months after it was accepted I never had the courage to look at it for that very reason. During the editing process I made changes that hadn’t been suggested. That works out great if you have an editor who is open to that sort of thing. My editor has been terrific. I hope when the time comes, you are so lucky as to have an editor like mine!

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