"You may wish you knew then what you know now, but remember sometimes...the things you know now were learned from what you didn't know then." --Terri Amshey
Can we speak of generosity? I have a couple of people to thank. Thanks to an agent who gave of her time and resources to read my manuscript and give me much needed advice. Thanks to a friend whom I've come to know and appreciate through blogging who generously offered to read my work and then took precious time to offer a detailed critique that far exceeds anything I've received in the years in which this book has taken shape.
Both of these responses have come in just the last few weeks. Both were like a bouquet of flowers: a collection of sweet words of encouragement entwined with words rooted in growth and change. Seeds have been planted to make the whole experience of writing a book so much better. And I'm grateful.
Yes, I could say, "if only." If only I knew then what I know now. But then, as Ms. Amshey (above) says, those things I know now came from what I didn't know then. In my case they arrived by way of generous and open hands from those who offered a fresh perspective. I think too many times we seek writing advice, read books on writing, dip into the myriad blogs on the subject of writing, only to come away with a sense that yes, something isn't working but what is that something? When someone then comes along to cut through the fog, we realize what a gift we've been given.
So to Irene and Cathy (you know who you are!), I say thanks. I'm compiling a list of terms of issues that you called out, things like conflict/tension, throughlines, depth, 'episodic.' Then there's an ugly weed that I didn't understand at first but now see more clearly: 'insufficiently digested research'! It just goes to show the old adage, you can't see the forest for the trees :-)
To help along the way, I offer links to a few more articles I will visit in the next round:
10 Tips for (Re)Writing a Novel, by Jolina Petersheim
Pacing Your Plot: 20 Ways to Rethink Your Narrative Pace, by Jodell Sadler
3 Types of Conflict to Improve Your Story, by Ryan Lanz
What I Wish I'd Known, by Cecil Murphey
What has been your experience with critiques--encouraging, constructive, or otherwise? Anything you're particularly grateful for at the moment?