1,000 Words

I submitted to strangers once again this week. Miss Snark’s First Victim opened her blog for submissions of the first 1,000 words of your novel for critique by her readers. A previous version of the first chapter of my novel-in-progress The Brevity of Roses was critiqued by over a dozen other writers, but only a couple had read the revision. So, yesterday I submitted the revised excerpt and hoped for the best.

There are shortcomings in such a format. For one, no blurb or setup was part of the submission, and I think that is a liability. A reader picking up a published book would have this information from the back cover or flap before reading the opening pages. Some questions I’ve received in comments would not have been asked, if I had been able to give a little setup. Also, italic formatting was lost in translation to the blog, so a few sentences meant to be italicized indicating direct thought, inspired questions whether these were POV slips. [Turns out, I did have a minor POV problem, just not in these lines.]

Despite these shortcomings, I’ve had some very good feedback. Some of it funny. I discovered my Meredith is a lush! This impression came from the fact that I pictured her being served those two-ounce glasses of wine served in expensive restaurants, while most others apparently pictured full glasses [like I usually pour myself 🙂 ]  One person even suggested an actor to play Meredith in the filmed version … may it be a box office smash!

Thank you, Miss Snark’s First Victim and her readers. I am thrilled to have such generous writers offer their help to me. I’m off to edit and tweak … again.

Writing Garbage

It is perfectly okay to write garbage–as long as you edit brilliantly. – C. J. Cherryh

At least once a week, I come to the conclusion that everything I write is garbage. Usually this realization is preceded by reading some brilliant piece of published fiction, at which point my inner critic Ms. Perfect, declares, “See? You’ll never write anything even close to that, so give it up now, quit wasting your time!” But this morning I read the above quote, and am encouraged to write “garbage” today, and edit tomorrow … if I can muzzle Ms. Perfect long enough.