Please welcome one of my critique buddies, Lois Sayers.
Lois Sayers lives in Pittsburgh, She has worked as an interior architect & designer for over seven years. With her lifelong passion for writing, she has transitioned from short stories and is now working on her first novel.
First, let me tell you a bit about Lois. This woman has a beyond-belief imagination and is working on her first novel, (a Tween fantasy genre) that takes my breath away. It’s certainly different. When she has it ready to hit the published list, I’m sure her novel will be a terrific smash.
Here are her thoughts on the rewriting process. Go, girl!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written a short story, inevitably wrapping it up at the end of the night only to read it the next day and wonder who on earth has made such obvious mistakes? Did someone come in to the house in the middle of the night, which is my belief, and change my words to idiot talk? Did a child take liberties with my lovely story and turn it into the mistake-ridden mess in front of me?
The rewrite begins. Whoever has made a mockery of this story did so in vain. I sit in my chair and there I edit and reword, choosing the perfect words to make the story shine, to get my point across in a unique and interesting way . . . again.
I take my revised story, my gem, my heart of hearts to my writing group, the peers who might now gaze upon my masterpiece and declare, between their fits of awe, that this story needs no edits. No edits. How I long for those two words.
There I sit, waiting to begin. My heart is aflutter, I must tell you. Though, I’m a bit preoccupied with the thoughts of having become such a good writer so quickly but I remain silent. I look from person to person. Why haven’t they looked me in the eye? Why have they taken out their pens? I look on the table, to the pages in front of them—copies of my story and what is that on them? Red marks! Red marks marring my perfect words.
I’m suddenly losing faith.
They finally stare at me. One of them clears her throat. “I’ll start,” she says. “You began three paragraphs with the same character’s name.
Why didn’t I see that? I want to kick myself. Cut off my typing fingers.
Another one chimes in. “And I counted nine ‘should’s and six ‘had’s. You’ve got to watch those.”
“You sure do,” the first one adds.
After the session is over and the errors have leapt from the pages, I feel terribly deflated. They are right, of course. The errors are so apparent even to this pitiable writer.
I go home with my red-marked copies. I sulk because this was the story I was convinced was intelligent and well written. Like salt in a wound, I go over each line correcting what someone else has made better. I go to bed.
It takes me a week but I reread my story. I see that it is at best mediocre but better now that my friends and fellow writers have pointed out the errors. From a fresh light I begin my rewrite for the fourth time. I’ve learned finally that the story is imperfect, probably always will be. But, there might be a story, one of these days that rises up (naturally, after my friends have dissected it and I’ve put it back together). It’s that future story that might be better if not brilliant in its imperfections, good enough for the publisher to say, “I’ll take it.”
I’d like to say that’s why I write and rewrite. But it isn’t. To be honest, I would write even if no one saw my words. Still, I strive to perfect my craft, to find the story that is accepted.
Any advice for Lois? Any thoughts? We’d both love to hear from you.
Make her feel welcome with your comments.