Ever Feel Like Having Your Teeth Pulled Out, Is More Fun Than Editing?

Picture by Jason Eppink

Picture by Jason Eppink

In my last post regarding the novel I am writing, I advised I had put it out for beta reading and the feedback had started coming in. I also mentioned I might jump on the NaNoWriMo wagon to get a start on book 2. To give you an update, I didn’t end up writing in NaNo, all the feedback came back that weekend and decided I would get stuck into it. I’m currently still working through what I hope will be my final edit. The process has highlighted just how much I have missed within the editing process. Simple things that I would never believe I would do, like using “there” instead of “their” or writing ‘the guards’ in place of “the guard’s”. I have been through this manuscript so many times now that my eyes bleed when I look at it… and still people manage to find errors! It just goes to show how important this step of the editing process is.

I am truly grateful to those that have spent their precious time reading and commenting on my work. They have selflessly donated a part of their life so that I can improve my writing. But it is a double edged sword, for while the feedback is valid, sought after and greatly appreciated, it doesn’t make me feel great when I read through the criticisms. It hurts! Not physically, but emotionally there is a sting in the tail of some of their sentences. It’s not intentional, they haven’t written them that way to scorn me, but that’s how it makes me feel. I have to endure I tell myself… suck it up, grow a pair, drink a cup of concrete and harden the f@#k up. So I do, because I know I have to go through this pain to become a better writer. I have, however, created a little technique that I believe assists me.

The technique is quite simple really. I read through the feedback in the word document or on the printed paper, and if one of the comments strikes a nerve, I write a reply. It goes something like this:-

Beta Reader: Where did they get that watch from, it hasn’t ever been mentioned in the story before?

Me: Who cares, they’ve always had it, hasn’t everyone got a watch? They don’t always roll their sleeves up and wave it under your nose, do they!

Beta Reader: There is too much description in here, why are you telling us all this? If the old diamond mine isn’t important to the story, we don’t need to know about it.

Me: Duh, it’s called world building, it creates atmosphere, it’s only half a paragraph, not a whole bloody chapter! Pull your head in.

This method seems to help me get over the comment so I can read it again with less ‘pain’ and consider it with a more open mind.

Do you have a method of getting passed the pain? If you do, I’d love to hear it.

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6 thoughts on “Ever Feel Like Having Your Teeth Pulled Out, Is More Fun Than Editing?

  1. I appreciate you writing this. I’m currently editing my first novel, which was done during NaNo(though I doubt I’ll do it next year) and I’ve been debating using some beta readers when I finish. As far as negative comments are concerned, I try and take both positive and negative with a grain of salt. Everyone has an opinion and not everyone is a writer. It’s your story in the end and if you like it, that’s what truly matters.

    • Thank you, I glad you got something out of the post, I really do recommend the Beta Read, I went with about 6 trusted friends for mine, I probably only needed about 4, but I still got something worth while from all of them. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Aloha Allan,
    Good post – and pertinent to me.
    Beta readers are always valuable and particularly precious if they are members of your target audience.
    I like your technique for dealing with criticism. Get the emotion out of the way first – then objectively consider the subjective criticism. I think it will help.
    But yes – it still hurts.
    A Hui Hou,
    Wayne
    P.S. — “Drink a cup of concrete and harden the f@#k up” – I had not heard that one, I like it, thanks.

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