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30 December 2013 @ 09:11 pm
my best(worst) critique ever  

Back at the start of the century (!) I submitted a manuscript to a writing contest, which I finaled in and went to the conference the contest was associated with, because finalists got to meet an editor and I wanted a professional opinion on whether what I was doing was any good.

Finalists also wore little ribbons saying they were finalists in their genre. The SF/F ones were yellow. A woman came up to me and said, “Oh! You’re a SF&F finalist! Were you one of mine? I’m one of the judges!”

I said, er, I don’t know, my book was called MANIFEST DESTINY…

And she almost literally seized me and said, “OH! Yes, that was one of mine! You’re one of those writers who writes an AMAZING plot and then drops in cardboard characters, aren’t you!?!”

Me: …
Me: …
Me: …
Me: *wheeze*
Me: …
Me: …
Me: …*tiny voice* well, i didn’t /think/ so…

I went to a lot of panels and workshops on characterization that weekend. o.o

It was *brutal*. It was also the single most useful piece of critique I have ever receieved. The second-most was also, essentially, characterisation-based, and had to do with learning to get my character’s motivations onto the page. I turned in about five manuscripts to my editor at Harlequin before I stopped getting “Good, but now with more motivation!” notes from her. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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martianmooncrabmartianmooncrab on December 30th, 2013 08:14 pm (UTC)
you have good editors.. plus the fact you are a damn good writer that can add extra oomph when you go back and make the story even better!
irishkateirishkate on December 30th, 2013 08:41 pm (UTC)
I love that the judge was so interested to meet you. It shows how much talent you showed.
kitmizkit on December 30th, 2013 08:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, for all I knew she did that to everybody. :) (The editor, actually, who was a small press editor, told me not to waste time with small presses and go straight for New York. So that was actually very nice. Especially after that critique. :))
Deborah Blakedeborahblakehps on December 31st, 2013 02:12 am (UTC)
I remember getting those critiques. They stung a bit, but they also made me a better writer, so they were worth it. (Mostly.)
Catherinesharpwords on December 31st, 2013 10:54 am (UTC)
This made me feel better. :)

I wouldn't mind a few boots to the head if they'd make me a better writer, that's for sure.
kitmizkit on December 31st, 2013 11:28 am (UTC)
Most of the reason to post stories like this is to make people feel better. :)