Writers, do you ever feel this way? For me, it is absolute truth….

village1I’d still be writing 200,000-word monstrosities with marginal plot if I hadn’t found the courage to let others read and critique my writing. Terrifying at first, to be sure, but I cannot quantify how much I’ve learned from other writers, critique groups, and writing classes since then. It’s made me the writer I am today. If I ever get Hooligans published, I’ll be thanking at least 17 people (and counting) by name in my Afterward for making my novel what it is today. I just don’t even want to imagine what my novel would have been without them. I got feedback on multiple occasions that made me go back and pretty much re-write the entire thing, but each time it got better and better. I made some people read various first chapters at least three times. Without all my writer friends, it would have been sad. Just sad.

Writing is a solitary pursuit, but harnessing the skill and knowledge of other writers is what makes my novels happen. I’m constantly amazed by the generosity and thoughtfulness that my writer friends devote to work that isn’t even theirs.

If you have to give an Oscars speech thanking the people who helped make your novel, what might you say? Who would you thank?

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18 comments

  1. authorleighmichaels · August 26, 2014

    200,000 word monstrosities with marginal plot… yep pretty much sums up my early work lol.

    Feedback from others has been huge. It’s also true for me that feedback on my early works changed how I focused on my more recent works. It’s so easy, especially when you are emotionally invested in your plot, to lose yourself in the emotion, and forget to be realistic. For me, the excess wordiness in the past came from extensive descriptive narrative, because I just thought I had to say EVERYTHING. I’ve learned much better how to trim and cut and use more effective words and phrases to capture what I want to say in a more concise manner, as well as to just plain leave some things out.

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · August 26, 2014

      I agree with everything you just said! For me, too, it’s being learning a lot about showing instead of telling, keeping tension on every page, and taking a more structured approach to plotting, all of which I learned from other writers, either in writing classes or critique groups!

      Like

  2. J. A. Appelman, Writer · August 26, 2014

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    I shall have to start doing this more with my writing… especially the novel this blog is named after… hehee

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · August 26, 2014

      Thanks for the re-blog and glad you found this helpful! I’ll come check you comment out! Happy writing πŸ˜€

      Like

  3. eclecticalli · August 26, 2014

    So very true. I feel like the recent feedback I’ve been seeking has helped me A LOT with my writing… I can’t wait to see what happens when I actually complete a novel-draft and ask for feedback. “Can’t wait,” meaning “scared to death, but know it will be good for me.”

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · August 26, 2014

      Yes! Terrifying but good for you, kind of like going to the dentist πŸ˜› For me anyway. It’s definitely gotten easier and easier with each successive critique, too. And oftentimes I find my readers actually confirm a sneaking suspicion I’ve kept locked away in my subconscious. And I find, too, that critiquing other writers helps me become a better writer, too! Anyway, happy writing and best of luck with those beta readers when you get there. Send me a shout out if you need to commiserate!

      Like

  4. Jennifer Austin - Author · August 26, 2014

    Betas are the best thing that ever happened to my writing. Sure I learned from blogs and writing books and reading others work, but hearing what your peers think has been invaluable!

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · August 26, 2014

      Absolute truth! It’s one thing to read about it, but to have someone show you and help you apply it to your own work, priceless. I tend to learn best by doing, too, as do most people.

      Like

  5. jbgarner58 · August 26, 2014

    Reblogged this on J. B. Garner – Musings of a Starving Author and commented:
    This is so true. That’s why you see regular posts begging for more beta readers. You can NEVER have enough input on your work! Soooo …. anyone want to be a beta reader?

    Like

  6. jbgarner58 · August 26, 2014

    I totally agree with this. I reblogged and added my bit, which mostly echoes what has been said here.

    I always want more betas. I *need* more betas. You can never have enough of them.

    Sooo … anyone want to be a beta reader? I have books and books for you to read!

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · August 26, 2014

      Glad you liked my post and thanks for the re-blog! Yeah, building your legion of trusty betas takes time and luck, I hear ya! There’s this online writing community thing going on right now called #writeoncon and it’s got a forum for posting and swapping 1st 5 pages and queries and what not. You can also look to match up with betas, too. Happy writing and thanks for stopping by! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Marianne Knowles · August 26, 2014

    Absolutely it takes a village! Or several, even. I’ve lost count of the number of people I owe, big-time, for giving a critical eye to my work.
    Heather Kelley posted about building a community last week: http://writersrumpus.com/2014/08/22/building-community-or-the-universe-has-bigger-plans-for-you/

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · August 26, 2014

      Haha I hear you! After I posted this, I was thinking again on who helped me at different points with this and it’s more than 17. Thanks for posting the link! I’ll go check it out. Happy writing and thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  8. Sonia Lal · August 27, 2014

    I don’t know, but you’re right. Critique is very helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Bookgirl · August 27, 2014

    It takes courage and I lost mine a few years back, I’ve looked everywhere, but its yet to be found.

    Like

    • sjoycarlson · August 27, 2014

      Aw sad!!! I found my singapore ones in a writers group on meet up. It can be hard to find…

      Like

      • Bookgirl · August 27, 2014

        I think I’ve filed it away for the very near future. I have the names of some writing group when I’m ready.

        Like

      • sjoycarlson · August 27, 2014

        That’s good at least! Happy writing!

        Like

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