Have you ever been shocked and disappointed by a big-name author’s book and thought, I wish I could have critiqued that for them first?
If seasoned authors still need trusted critique partners to say, “this is boring”, I certainly do.
And I’m happy to say I have.
While working on my fourth book in the Dangerous Loyalties series, I asked for a first chapter critique from someone not familiar with my previous work. I received a great reality check on the arrogant thought, I’ve nailed it.
What went wrong?
- I didn’t mention my POV character’s name until the second page.
- I started with the character traveling and reflecting too long on backstory.
- Because of the reflection, my character’s emotions became erratic.
- My reader couldn’t distinguish the character’s goal.
Yes, I knew better. So why did I choose to ignore sound story structure advice from the beginning?
Because I love my darlings. Thankfully, the critique exposed the truth, “They’re evil and must die.”
Rather than stay bummed out and whine, “I’ll never write again” I reassessed the mess and develop an alternative plan. I embraced the opportunity to make corrections on my blueprint before continuing with faulty construction. I also repented from judging the famous author’s boring best seller.
3 Reasons Authors Need Tough Critiques
- Reader reviews will be brutal if you cause buyer’s remorse.
- Writers need their weaknesses revealed in order to improve.
- You’re not as great as you think you are.
Even after working with critique partners, beta readers, and editors, odds are, critical reviews will come, and fans will turn. Don’t let this truth be an excuse to quit or become cocky.
Stand up straight, pull the dagger from your heart, continue receiving help, and get back to creating.
Are the reasons I’ve missed?