Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Taking Criticism ... Sort Of.

 Although this blog is a little fanciful, and I try to go for the laugh most of the time, it is based on my life. I don't consider anything I write in here to be fiction. Did Time Traveling Ninja Sausages attack me the other night? No. But I did have massive indigestion and heartburn. Funny, imaginative, but not entirely fiction.
Usually, I am writing fiction. I've been writing fiction seriously, and by seriously I mean trying to learn to be better at it and get published, for almost a year now. Recently it seems that I have become good enough that I will have a piece published in an E-zine (online magazine) relatively soon.

Huzzah me!

A second, slightly longer piece is being considered for print publication, and I am extremely happy about that. That second piece has made it through the first couple of rounds of cuts, and is on the short list for inclusion in that magazine. Yesterday, they sent it back to me with some suggested edits, quite a few suggested edits, that would probably increase my chances of getting in if I decide to make them and re-submit.

This is a definite step forward, and this morning I looked at the suggested edits with great interest.

The funny part is how I tend to react to suggestions about my writing. Let's just say that I've warned the people to whom I go for criticism to just ignore me for an hour or two after they render me a critique.

I get very defensive.

It's like someone is making fun of my child, and I reflexively want to strike them down. After a while, when I look back at what they said, I'm usually a lot more calm, and I can take their suggestions as just that; suggestions. I've stopped calling them names and ranting, usually to an empty room. The few times when someone was present and actually telling me their thoughts were … embarrassing.

Here, just for the giggles, I'd like to list a few of the comments the editor made on my story, and give you the reactions I had at the time. I'm kind of hoping this is funny. Funny would beat embarrassing again …

This is not all the comments, not even close, but it's a pretty good summation of her opening page, before she gets into the actual line-by-line edits.

I enjoyed this story though the beginning was a little confusing
          -Confusing? What the hell are you talking about?
It feels to me as if you started to write one story then got a better idea, and abandoned the first one.
          -No, there was just the one idea I had throughout the whole story. Did you even read it?
So instead of the old, tired stuff about hunger gnawing at him and trying to control himself, just start with him on the prowl.
          -Old, tired stuff? Really? Really? Speaking of old and tired, don't you think it's time you retired, you old bitter %$#* of a @#&*!!!
I think you should get rid of everything about the Need, but I have provided you with a line edit of the first part, anyway.
          -Oh! Thank you! Thank you so much! “The first part is the part that sucks the most, and I say you should just cut it, but just to show you how it's done here's how a real writer would fix the problem”? Thanks a lot! Why don't you just whip my $%@# out and step on it while you're at it!!
I also suggest you try a better title.
          -#@%& you!!!
Otherwise, after a bit of a rocky start this is a good story! Nice ending! Congratulations!
          -Well, obviously this woman is a genius! Looking back at it, so many of her comments just make sense, and I can see how she's using her greater experience to just make my story better! I think I need to send her a thank you note, try to forge a good working relationship.

You see that? It didn't take me long to turn around on that one at all! What a nice lady.
Does that up there look a little “Jekyll and Hyde” to you? Me too. Yeesh …

Talk to you later!

P.S. - There's just one day left to take part in my poll! Each of the titles listed up there has a story to go with it. Which one would you like to read? You guys pick it, and I'll post it!


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