An Aspiring Writer's Blog Site

Metamorphosis of a Story- Part Five

Getting the Story Critiqued By Others

Here’s the part of the process that may be the hardest for us who write: taking that story we’ve worked so hard on and put it out there so it (and us) are naked to the world. And then, like sadists, we let people beat the crap out of it.

I pride myself for having pretty good rhino hide, but in truth, criticism still stings and when I get it, my game can be off for a few days. That is why even though Swan Lady has been getting feedback this last week, I have held off looking at any of it until today. I had a draft from another story I needed to finish first and if I had started reading those comments, I would have lost some confidence. Today I opened those critiques up.

You get those little butterflies before you read these things. You can’t help but wince as you look at all the e-mails with your story in the title, knowing your story is about to be exposed for the imperfection it is. You’re curious, but you also feel a little weak. You remind yourself–I got to do it if I want to get better.

And you open the first one.

Last time I had something critiqued was almost two years ago. I’m a little out of practice of getting beaten up on. I haven’t had a short story critiqued in about ten years. In truth, I wondered if I could bare it this time around.

The first line of my first critique:

“I loved this story. I hope it gets published somewhere soon.”

Wow. That’s real nice.  Great way to start, eh?

For those of you who have followed Metamorphosis of a Story, you know there were a few things I wondered about this tale as it went out for critiques. One was the Irish dialect. None of my readers had an issue with it. That’s a relief. No one commented about showing more back story. Only one person said the mother’s dialogue at the beginning was confusing. So, good.

One thing I wanted was the story to stand on its own whether the reader knew the story was based upon a legend or not. I accomplished this. Only two people recognized the legend and those that didn’t still liked it.

Something that struck me from the comments was that more than half the people said this story was good to go after a few minor changes. Some thought it was ready to go now. I was extremely flattered by these comments.  This means Swan Lady will have a short rewrite period before it gets a Beta read and then shopped.

So, what’s next? I sit on the story for the rest of the week and this weekend. I’ll read through the comments a few more times and let them sink into my sub-conscious and then on Monday I’ll sit down and make changes to the story. I’ll then sit on it again for two more days, review my changes, make final edits, and make the final draft. I also need to start looking around where I want to send this thing (I have no clue). My next post will be for a Beta read if anyone is interested.


8 responses

  1. It’s a really good idea to let the critiques sit for a few days before digging into the story again. Now, I just need to remember to apply this rule to myself.

    October 3, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    • Heh. After reading the comments, it literally saps my strength for a little while. I’m happy to wait!

      October 3, 2012 at 12:39 pm

  2. Hey Dan, glad you’re pressing onward, I’m definitely interested in seeing what the revised version looks like. Hope I wasn’t too hard on you the last round? 🙂

    October 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    • Nah. Wasn’t bad. I’ve seen worse. 🙂 Someone else said that Jason wasn’t likeable either (though I tweaked him based upon your comments before I sent it out to my workshop). Actually, most didn’t see too many redeeming qualities about him, though they liked the character. I want to change that. He’s an ass, but he’s supposed to be more of a lovable ass.

      October 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      • That’s understandable. So, when you’re ready, put it up. I’ll only drool a little until then okay?

        October 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      • Heh. Sounds like a plan.

        October 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm

  3. Your technique of taking things in and then letting them sit for a while is one I use myself. When I’ve finished a draft of something, I give it a few weeks before I move to the work’s next draft. My memory is good and that’s the only way I can get a fresh perspective on what I’ve done. Literary writers often recommend at least six weeks between drafts or edits. As for where to shop that story: This may seem obvious, but have you considered using the old tried and true ‘Writer’s Market’? Your local library will have the 2012 edition for sure. If it’s a really good library, you might get lucky and find the 2013.

    October 3, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    • Hey, Thomas. Yeah. Waiting is definitely important. I’m still figuring this out as I go, but depending on which draft I’m working on depends on how long I wait. The longest right now is two weeks for the draft I send out to people for review (what I call a first draft). Writer’s Market is definitely a possibility. I’m also going to use my critique group’s listing of places as well. Thanks for swinging by!

      October 3, 2012 at 11:32 pm

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