As Kelly Clarkson likes to sing, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself as critiques begin to roll in.
At first glimpse of the e-mail detailing a review of my synopsis and first two chapters, I have to tell you, I felt nauseous. It literally evoked a physical reaction from me. Of course, that was followed by thoughts such as My novel is a piece of poo and I am a terribly amateur author who had no business thinking that this was ready for the eyes of others. But then I reminded myself to breathe, got up and walked around, and reread the person’s critique. Four times.
Yes, it was harsh. Yes, it could have been phrased better.
…But it was also true – and not in a your-writing-stinks kind of way.
I realized, after reading it for the fifth time, that, darn it all, the critique was right. The reviewer gave his impression of my characters based on my synopsis, and he got [most of] them all wrong. After some thought, I realized that the reason the critiquer (yes, it is now a word) thought that my characters were vanilla cliches was because that’s how the synopsis portrayed them. Most of them, in the novel, are much more interesting than that. And those that aren’t, well, those characters are the ones I need to chance. In both cases, I need to kick things up a notch, both in my synopsis (that will someday be my pitch) and in my manuscript.
And that doesn’t make me a bad writer. I just need to remind myself that this is what is supposed to happen – but it will only work if I lower my angry defenses and let it. Wish me luck. 😉