It’s time once again to send our fears and insecurities out into the world. If you haven’t yet, be sure to visit the Ninja Captain and join up on the linky.
I know this is about insecurities, but I wanted to talk about the opposite effect today: delusions of adequacy. Recently, I did something that has made me really annoyed with myself.
So, I paid someone for a critique. I knew that the work wasn’t really at the point where a critique would do it much good. I knew that what it needed more than anything else was for those early chapters to be rewritten. I knew this. And yet, I ponyed up my money and paid someone to read chapters that needed to be rewritten from scratch.
And you know what the editor said?
The editor said that the chapters needed an absolute overhaul, maybe even a rewrite.
Even knowing beyond a doubt that it needed work, I thought that somehow I could bamboozle this editor into liking my stuff. Nope. In fact, pretty much every comment was “This could be good, but currently, it—ah, how do I say this nicely?—isn’t good at all. Great voice though. And the humor is fantastic, but the XY and Z are just killing me.”
And I knew about the XY and Z. Like it was the one thing everyone has already commented on. I knew about it, and yet I sort of thought this editor would just gloss right over that, or maybe say “Oh my goethite*! This is a revolutionary way of writing! I wonder why no one has ever written like this before!” (hint: they have, it just sucked for them too!). I sent off some flawed chapters, and I expected to be told they were awesome. At least adequate.
There’s a saying where I grew up that sort of applies here: You plant peas; you get peas.
It means don’t go rootin’ around the asparagus patch looking for some bell peppers. That’s not where you planted them (you did get them out of the package, right?). In my home town that saying is meant to basically call someone an idiot for not thinking.
I got some really great feedback, and for the record, I’d utilize this particular editor again in a heartbeat. Mostly, I’m just annoyed at myself for thinking the bad parts would just go away while I worked on other stuff. I mean really, did I think faeries would just fly in and make everything better while I wasn’t looking?
Anyone else with this particular problem, or am I the only one wearing the dunce’s cap in the corner?
P.S. The editor kindly offered rereads for half the cost. Like I said, editor=awesome.
*goethite is pronounced grrrrrrrr-tight, it’s a mineral of some economic importance.