Critique, Doubt, Editing, Fiction, My Books, Novel, Publish, Read, Writing

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. As a complete non-professional, I say you’re over-thinking this. We love our kids whether or not they’re ‘successful.’ We do what we can to help them and we stop when there’s no other help to give.

    Let it be and worry about it (including your beta readers) IF it happens.

    Standy uppy now. 🙂


  2. That question is why I’m going over my whole plot Thursday.
    While I enjoy writing each scene — does the whole story add up? Is it satisfying?

    As for your question: advice is advice, regardless of its source. I’d bet you get a wide array from writers and readers alike [and all the writers are readers… and on my first read I try to be ‘just’ a reader.]


    1. I wish I could have selective amnesia … for just a few days, so I could read my book as “just a reader.”

      For your work, your question is more, is the plot plausible, right? Mine is more, is the plot interesting enough, which I guess will be answered when I hear from my readers. Good luck on getting your plot questioned answered, so you can move ahead in your writing.


      1. I don’t think ‘plausible’ is the right word. It’s got ghosts and magic after all, and lots of crazy stuff happens.
        I want ‘entertaining.’ No, I want ‘engrossing.’
        Are you coming Thursday?


  3. I’m with Pamela here. I think what you are suffering from is a case of “analysis paralysis.” Breathe deeply, let it go. See what happens.

    (BTW–I think we’d all agree that is one UGLY baby.)


  4. You know what? You can make yourself crazy with this kind of thinking. Everyone’s taste in story matter is different. Don’t worry about if people “like” it — some will, and some won’t — but think instead about making it as dramatic, coherent, surprising, and dynamic as you can make it. This way, the people who are inclined to like your type of story will be dazzled by it.

    Thanks for you comment over on my editing blog. Good to connect with another Mad Men fan. 🙂



    1. Oh, I know, I know. I’ve just got a lifetime of trying to please everyone behind me and it’s hard to change. 🙂 And if I do make it “dramatic, coherent, surprising and dynamic” it will be in part due to the great advice at your blog.


  5. That baby looked like Benjamin Button. So ugly his mother died and his father almost threw him off a bridge before deciding to abandon him on a doorstep. I had to attach a sticky note to his face just to get through your post. Now I’ve forgotten what you’ve said.

    Okay, back now. Had to refresh. Anyway, the only advantage I can think of for whose opinion to value more is the writer/reader will at least know a little more about what irks an agent (like too many dialogue tags), whereas a non-writer reader won’t notice. But I think you need both, because (as set forth by my above example) a writer/reader might get hung up on details that will distract them from truly enjoying the novel every time they see a snag.


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