Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Unsolicited writing advice

Blame it on a little bout of writer's block, but things have been a little lagging on the book writing front. Many bigger issues have come up and I've put the book on the side for the last few weeks. But last week, on a whim, I did something that has inspired me to get back in motion.

Thus, I'd like to share another bit of unsolicited book writing advice.

I can't stress how important it is to have a trusted source read your manuscript before you throw something out to the public. Whether it's your spouse, good friend, or family member, whoever can give you usable and helpful advice can inspire you in many ways. Ways that you probably never saw coming.

In my most recent case, I let my friend Amy read over the first chapter of When We Were the Kids. In turn, she let me read the first two chapters of a novel she's working on. Her feedback made sense. She dug the material. The only drawbacks she found were drawbacks I've wanted to work on/fix. And she didn't come across as a frustrated/bitter aspiring novelist in the process.

Feedback is important in getting out of your head. You will always know the material better because you wrote the damn thing. But in translating it for others to read, you have to take suggestions into consideration. If you're turning to a trusted source, this is about making your material better, right?

I don't respond well to critiques that rip apart everything I've done. Forget all those weeks, months, years you've spent on something. If it sucks on the page, then you suck as a person. Well, what kind of feedback is that? Not the helpful kind. Even if it pisses you off to fight back and come up with something stronger, you still have to run through murky swamps to get there.

You want to get your points across and tell your story. Thankfully, there are people who are willing to help you. And they don't have to cost thousands of dollars to help you in the birthing process.

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