I recently sent off the first three chapters of my book to my editor Barbara Varanka. I had no illusion that the chapters were close to final. Rather, I was hoping they at least conveyed good information about the characters, a sense of the story, and the mood. I was also interested in learning about my bad habits and how to correct them.
Barbara sent back a marked up and commented copy of the first three chapters, and we reviewed it together over Google+ hangout today. Something I’ve learned from my early days in creative writing class, oh, about a hundred years ago, is that feedback is feedback. It is like ideas, ideas are not good or bad, they are ideas. It’s what you do with them that make them helpful or useless. Today I really appreciated the honest feedback I received. I feel like I can move forward with completing a second draft. The best feedback was to use “cold prose” because of the “hot topic”. The story is dystopian and opens with a tense scene. That was huge feedback. Another one of my friends had commented that I used too much poetic forms in the early chapters. Basically the same feedback. I know what to do now because of this feedback intersection.
I can move forward with more confidence because of my editor’s markup, and comments, and because of my friend’s feedback. So vital. It wasn’t necessary to send my whole first draft, because most of my problems repeat. Feedback is like having a guide to a good fishing hole. I know how to fish, but I don’t know the best bait for the best holes.
I’m also having some “aha” moments reading “Invisible Ink”. Great book on the art of crafting a story. I’m going to finish my current two books, then read a Cory Doctorow book before I end this break from writing.
Also, I recommend Barbara’s editing services. I will likely go back to her for more editing once I get further in my drafting.