So I was recently bestowed with a beta read of a new author’s book and was super stoked! I haven’t had the opportunity to critique anyone’s writing in a very very very long time. Naturally, I took my time, ensuring that I picked up on all the grammar issues, any plot issues, characterization and the like.
As I went to open a word document to start typing up all the grammatical/spelling/typographical errors I noted, I thought, “Ah, this will only be about five pages.” One page grew to two, to three, to eight. Then I’m sitting here like, “Am I being too critical? Surely not! I was asked if I saw grammatical errors to point them out and I did.”
But I didn’t stop there. I then added a section of critique notes to the book. Some things like a few plot inconsistencies, nothing too drastic. Then the document keeps getting bigger. Well, after my critique notes were all done, I still felt like I needed to add something more. So I thought, I got it! I’ll add a section about the four Point of View characters!
So as I type out that section, I realize that I didn’t add the one thing the author asked me to add. My general overview and thoughts on the book. Whelp, so I get to writing all that stuff down and some of it was a reiteration of the things I had written above, told her the honest star rating I would give it if what I read right now was published, but also told her that I really did enjoy the story and the world building that went into the work.
When I critique, I point out the good, the bad, and where and how you can improve. It’s how I learned to critique way back in the days of Creative Writing Workshops with Murphy (no people, not my cat, the Professor).
As I opened my email to send off this monster document to the author, I prefaced it with “please don’t be intimidated by the size of this document.”
And how many pages did my critique end up being you may ask? 13 pages and a little over 5,000 words.
I haven’t had so much fun critiquing something in such a long time! Now if only I could find a way to be paid to do this type of work…
And that’s where I come to this question. Am I more of a writer or am I more of an editor? This is a question I ask myself constantly. I have 90% of Revelry written and the amount of times I have edited some sections exceeds 50 times. That’s right 50 TIMES. I think the editor in my mind stifles the writer in my heart sometimes. This could possibly be the reason why I still can’t come up with a decent way to write Chapter 10 of Revelry…the ACTUAL Revelry. I have tried writing it at least half a dozen times. I’ve thrown away or deleted 80% of what I’ve written, deeming it as unacceptable writing.
Editor Jennifer needs to take a backseat and let writer Jennifer write to her heart’s content until she at least finishes writing that last chapter!!! It’s just one chapter I need! ONE! Then I can resend to beta readers (beta readers who actually responded to me) and get the process of publishing Revelry in 2016. I really feel like 2016 is going to be my year.
Anyways, I’m going to try to close my eyes for just a few minutes. I need to be somewhat rested before I go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens tonight at 7:30 with my awesome aunt Sheila!
May the Force be with you!