Advice, Craft, Critique, Editing, Feedback, Fiction, Novel, Revision, Writing

With a little help from my friends

My self-confidence in some aspects of writing never falters. But some tasks so overwhelm me, I’d rather scrub my shower with a toothbrush than tackle them. Query letter writing was one of those. The latest is composing the back cover blurb.

First, I looked at my query letter and took a chunk out of that to transform into a blurb. With fingers flying, I whittled and expanded, clarified and obscured. After several versions, I thought I had a fairly decent start, and asked for feedback.

I couldn’t decide if I should give this group of writer friends credit by name or protect their anonymity, so I’ll just paraphrase their response. They said, “I like your blurb … but let’s change 80% of it.” You gotta laugh. I love these guys.

I know what I’m good at, and I’m not good at writing succinct and sizzling descriptions of this novel. I needed their input, and I’m grateful they generously gave it. After nearly two dozen group emails back and forth—Try this word. No, try this word.—this sucker is finally looking good.

When I first joined a critique group, I felt a little guilty getting feedback. If I needed help, my inner critic told me, I wasn’t a real writer. Because of her harping, I think I resisted some good advice early on. But now, I don’t have a problem acknowledging my writing weaknesses and seeking help for them.

I don’t write by committee, that’s a solo job, but when it comes to editing, I’d be stupid not to take advantage of other writers’ knowledge—especially when their strengths are my weaknesses. Each time I ask for their help, I learn something. My weaknesses grow weaker.

Your turn: Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? Do you seek help from writer friends?


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12 thoughts on “With a little help from my friends”

  1. That’s great that your blurb is taking shape. I’m looking forward to reading it.

    My sense of my strengths and weaknesses seems to vary day to day, but I do solicit help from friends. (Great image, as always!)

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  2. I’m still not to the point where I feel comfortable sending out my work to be read by critique partners. I know I’m wordy and ramble on and on (and on some more). So, I need to edit the heck out of my work, but I know no matter how much I fix it up I’m sure my future critique partners will find more of my writing flaws and mistakes than I can on my own. I think it’s great to have other writers in your corner cheering you on and lending a helping hand.

    Good luck! 🙂

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    1. Obviously, I think it’s great too, Heather. Find some writers you trust and go for it. Not only will they find your flaws and mistakes, but they’ll encourage you to become the best writer you can be. 🙂

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  3. Well, I am so glad to read your recents post. I must confess I didn’t visit your blog for some weeks. But, what a joy to discover your encounter with Blurb and Kindle!

    I didn’t have a lot of time to read other blog simply because for several month, I was working very hard on editing my second and third Cahiers on Blurb and Kindle…

    So, I think you will understand my reaction when I discover you have decided to publish your work with them. I am so glad.

    This kind of editing is not easy. It’s take a lot of patience. I have try to make a excellente mise en forme, but It’s was not easy. I have put almost one month to do each Cahiers. I must confess, the covert was very difficult. But the result is fine. For Kindle, It,s was again, another Mise en page and another casse-tête. But, by following their guide formating, the result seemed pretty fine.

    The global result are fine. I was afraid to see the print edition with Blurb. But, when I open the first page, and then the second, an on, an on. I was very happy.

    Customers reviews are greats. I am satisfied. The library will grow steps by steps and years after years.

    Sincerely, I truly recommended to you those printers.

    Thanks for this opportunity.

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    1. Nice to see you back, Mireille. Congratulations on your recent publications, which are getting good reviews.

      I am afraid you misunderstood my use of “blurb.” The blurb I referred to is the book description that appears on the back cover of a printed book, or in the “product description” on Amazon.

      But I will be publishing for Kindle. I have yet to do the formatting, so thank you for telling me their guide was helpful.

      Continued good reviews to you. 🙂

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