Right now, I’m in the process of editing. But wait, I hear you say. Didn’t you finish your draft? Aren’t you waiting for your proof from CreateSpace because NaNoWriMo was awesome enough to give you a free one?
Yes, Reader, that is correct. I have two proofs in the post, courtesy of the lovely Spook who gave me her code. But I didn’t say I was editing that book. I didn’t even say I was editing my book.
No. The lovely Spook is not quite so lovely when it comes to punctuation…! I’m currently shredding her first draft from NaNo 2010 to within an inch of its life – and probably shredding her ego as well, since I’m being pretty harsh. Of course I try and comment on the things I like and be encouraging, but it’s not always easy.
It comes back to the old piece of advice they always give you, doesn’t it? Critique on your work is not critique on you as a person. Your manuscript is not an extension of yourself, however much it might feel like it, so you need to learn to separate from it and edit it how they suggested without being offended.
I know for me that receiving critique is very difficult, especially if it’s harsh. Often it’s not as bad as it could have been because the pieces that are really close to my heart are the better ones, but even if something’s not that special, it’s upsetting to get a “3” rating on Protagonize or to have somebody tell you that it’s terrible.
In giving my proofs to my family, I’m trying to learn to open up about my work. I want their comments. I want to know the awkward sentences and the massive plot holes that I’ve been trying to hide. Yet waiting until the fourth/fifth draft to give it to them … is this just another sign of how hard it is for me to get critique? After all, I could have sorted the issues earlier if I’d let them read it…
I don’t know. I hope that in learning to shred other people’s books and play “editor” instead of “writer” for a while, I’ll also learn that sometimes, my books need shredding. And I hope that it’ll teach me to accept critique, too.
Besides, correcting all of her grammar and punctuation makes me feel useful – and less guilty that I make them read all my books no matter how horrible.