Blast! For the second time, I thought I was done. I felt so good about my novelette, but now five sentences towards the end -- the wording suddenly seems awkward. Eight thousand seven hundred words, and eight-three have me stymied.
Okay, I'm setting aside The Haberdasher and the Hippie for a moment to do something important.
I want to express gratitude to those who have recently helped me with my short story. Originally I did my own editing, and felt ready to submit it to a magazine by the June 30th deadline. Good thing I didn't.
The little voice in my head said, “Despite your chronological years, as a writer you are still a ‘padawan’ -- an apprentice with much to learn.” I knew I needed a small group of readers who could provide feedback. But sometimes it can be hard for me to ask people for help and to review my work. When it comes to my writing, even on my most confident days I wonder “What will people think of, or about me?” Will they think I’m silly or stupid?
And then I remembered this Joseph Campbell quote:
I will never become a better writer, or a better anything, if I am unwilling to risk my own vulnerability. In this case to seek and accept constructive criticism on my writing.
So I made the plunge. I reached out to my small circle of Facebook friends searching for five people who could read my story and provide comments in four days. I was amazed. I ended up with eight beta-readers -- some I have never met, one person I met only once, two I haven’t seen in a year(s), and two new family members I’m just beginning to know.
I appreciated the thoroughness of the reviews and supportive critiques (one person, who I hadn’t seen in four years, did a professional markup in Microsoft Word). Their remarks included homonyms errors, comma corrections, missing definitive articles, sentence structure, style improvements, enhancing plot development and resolution.
You may be thinking “Oh my god, you must have been so deflated.” I wasn’t. I was grateful. Even now I’m becoming emotional as I think of the eight people, practically strangers, who donated their time to do something wonderful for me. They helped me on my journey.
I cannot say I am finished with my novelette until I thank the following again for the generosity of their time and energy (I’ve omitted names to protect their privacy, but I think they’ll know who they are; wink):
Alright I’m going back to The Haberdasher and the Hippie to finalize that last section.
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