I’d submitted the first ten pages of my middle grade novel for a paid critique at an upcoming Mid-South SCBWI Writers Conference. I had high hopes for these pages and felt I’d really nailed the voice of my protagonist. Cue the violin music, because this does not have a happy ending! The critiquer shredded my pages and found fault with just about everything I’d written.
This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten a critique like that—and I’m very sure it won’t be my last. All I can say is my reaction is invariably the same—I curl up in my fetal position and ask myself what had ever made me think I could write!
But some really nice things happened this week as well. For one thing, my publisher and I decided on an official release date for Deadly Setup. It’s July 5th. Another nice thing was getting the cover from the cover designer. I really like it and you, dear readers, get the first peek at it!
And finally, this morning I got a lovely email from my publisher who is the last person to lay eyes on the manuscript before it gets turned into a pdf. She wrote:
I am more than halfway through proofing your novel and wow!
This is a really good, intense mystery, Lynn. Really enjoying it and with a host of characters it’s tough figuring how ‘who done it’.
Excellent writing, Lynn! Excellent story-telling!
That was a definite pick-me-up. Maybe I could write, even though my work would never be everyone’s cup of tea.
And in a few days when I’ve gotten a bit of distance from the negative critique of my middle grade novel’s opening. I know I’ll go back and study it carefully for ways I can strengthen my story.
Such is the writing life. The highs are high and the lows are well… really low. But hey, it’s a privilege to do work I love that matters.