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Writer Cut To The Quick

Picture me like this:

Staggering, clutching my chest, my side, whatever part of me has been mortally wounded. I have time to issue a long and boring soliloquy before I fall to the boards of the stage on which I'm merely a player. A few more convulsive kicks of my legs and I turn my head toward the audience and breathe my last.

Killed by a reader, I am. Not just any reader. The one that has a rapier capable of cutting prose to ribbons, the one with the skill to wield same without mercy.

I die, I die, look how I die.

Note to self:
Do not, in future, send stories to this particular reader when he/she/it has the time to fully focus on them and provide detailed comments. Unless your writing gets a lot better first.

Answers to questions:
Story stays with this particular POV in this version unless I have to trash it after rewrite. POV is correct for style adopted, but style adopted is ambitious and am I really up to it? I added that last part. Reader said that the POV style was buried under other crap that needed to be removed, which I hadn't thought it was.

Story starts as one person's story, ends as another's. Fix that. If a character hijacks a story, well, then it's going to be their story after all and you need to redraft for that so the reader doesn't get confused.

Too much worldbuilding going on. Kill your children. You may need that worldbuilding elsewhere, but not here.

To give credit where credit is due, this reader was looking at what I was attempting, not what they would do themselves. Which is an incredible skill to have. And I thought Taos was tough. Sheesh. Little did I know. Taos was a walk in the park by comparison. Now I'm expected to go rock-climbing possibly without the safety equipment.

Frog Out

It's a nice day and the chickens have been let out of their fencing. Walkabout will show up in the house in short order, demanding treats.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 21st, 2007 02:12 pm (UTC)
Wow. Those are interesting and perceptive comments. I love good beta readers.
Oct. 21st, 2007 02:33 pm (UTC)
one won't remain vain for very long with the like.

Oct. 21st, 2007 02:56 pm (UTC)
The only kind of critiques that hurt me are the ones that are right and will require work. I got this on Friday with a story reject: "This story ends on an intriguing image, but I didn't feel the character development was strong enough in the rest of the piece for me to feel the emotional necessity of the last few lines."

The moment I read the rejection letter, I realized the editor was right. Damn.
Oct. 21st, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
Heh, I think that was me.

Glad to be helpful, sorry to hurt.
Oct. 21st, 2007 04:36 pm (UTC)
The pain is totally self-inflicted. No need to apologize. Thanks for the help. When I have something more, I'll try you again.
Oct. 21st, 2007 04:05 pm (UTC)
yes, that's exactly why I'm staggering around like a dying chicken with its head cut off. it's all correct feeback, the best on this story. I'm just not sure I can get my head around it all.

Oct. 21st, 2007 03:12 pm (UTC)
Ah, the crit that is brutal yet true.

I have one going on right now; J is reading book two. Ow, ow, ow.

Good luck with revisions!
Oct. 21st, 2007 04:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It's all for the best, but OWWWWW! (dying chicken dance)

Oct. 21st, 2007 03:57 pm (UTC)
You went to Taos? With Cat? I went to Clarion West with Cat. Small world squee!

My two cents on story advice that feels like it's going to break your story: all stories come with inherent flaws, and sometimes it's a matter of finding the editor (and readers) who'll love them despite.

Oct. 21st, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
yes, I knew you did. Connie and Cat both spoke highly of you. As did Andy Duncan at Capclave last weekend, not to mention he put your name into his blog for being in a collection with him.

I've been in very, very good company lately. (I'm not worthy!)
Oct. 21st, 2007 04:17 pm (UTC)
oh, and no, this crit will not break the story. I wouldn't take it if it did. it's what the story needed to hear. it's my vanity that's been pricked.
Oct. 21st, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC)
Big hugs for you, O brave and ambitious Frog!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )