Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Novel's Journey: Discovery: When a Crit Makes You Cry

You all know the struggle I've gone through with Discovery. (If not, here's the gist: five years, four false starts, two episodes of computer eating the manuscript, three weeks of obsessive effort and 108,000 finished words.)

Now, it's with my beta readers: people whose writing I admire and who know me well enough not to pull any punches when they crit my work. They know that, despite all my word count brags and phony whining about this or that writing complication, when it comes to a critique, I don't care so much about what I've done as how do I make it even better.

I feel the same about Discovery--maybe even more so. The story started out so simple--in my discouraged moments, I called it "Love Boat in Space"--but it wanted, it demanded, to be so much more. And (aside from the computer crashes), that's part of what took such effort. I did not feel up to the task--as a writer, as a thinker, or as a Catholic. Most of you have seen my stuff; "heavy" and "deep" are not the usual modifiers.

So, I have to admit, that while I was pleased with the manuscript, I was also a little worried that I'd still missed my mark. Frankly, that would have been okay, because I have some excellent writer friends critiquing it, and I trust them to show me where I fell short.

I'm writing this on July 9. (I plan my posts.) An hour ago, I got my first critique for Fred Warren, a Christian writer who writes stories in my Rescue Sisters universe. The first three words made me cry:


Those three words told me, that despite the problems with the storyline--and he pointed out some good ones!--I succeeded in my primary goal: The Story Works!

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