ellen mcbee

She's always up to something…

Something Funny Happened on the Way to Being Critiqued

on March 31, 2015

Namely, I suddenly feel like I’m in the home stretch for What You Stand For.

I posted the first chapter for a critique on Scribophile. So far I have received four critiques, all of them pointing out different things. A couple of them picked out things I had cut and suggested putting them back. Some picked out words or phrases that needed correction, clarification. And there were comments on the arc as a whole (although only from the first complete chapter).

And I don’t know, but something happened. I rewrote that chapter, splitting it into two, and allowing myself to use more words and descriptions and go ahead and slow down the forward momentum if I wanted to. The two chapters together are longer now than they were–but suddenly they are textured and convey the information and the setting and place and character and voice.

I knew before it was a good book. But now I feel like it’s getting to be a finished book. I could put up the first five chapters and not be ashamed of them, not apologize for awkwardness or stiff writing.

Of course, now I’m stopped on Chapter 6, which needs to be tighter, more dramatic, and funnier. A friend had a suggestion today for what could happen next. And I’m kind of excited about the idea, whether I use it or not. A terrific way for Kit to take revenge on the cheating hometown boyfriend.

School pick-up time, but later I’m going to pull out that chapter and rewrite it. I keep getting stuck in linear time: this happens, then this, then this. If I skip ahead a little I can cut the boring stuff and put in the interesting stuff. And then start shopping it to agents, because it’s ready.


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