Inspiration & criticism

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.

~Henry David Thoreau

I am in the process of sharing my rewrite with close friends who volunteered to be beta readers. The thought of it makes me squirm because criticism is so gosh darn hard for me to take. I’ve improved as the years have gone by. I can actually hear the constructive criticism now instead of freaking out inside and out. But it is never going to be easy or anything.

Luckily, thus far, I’ve gotten positive feedback from most of my readers. I find it funny that my brother is my harshest critic and biggest supporter. He always tells me what he wants. That chapter needs more description. (My stories are visual to me, so I often gloss over description in the first and sometimes second drafts). Or he’ll say that he wants to know what X character is thinking or feeling.

He asks me the best questions. Because if he has these questions then I know someone else will have them too. So I am able to work on it because he gets me thinking about my writing from the readers’ perspective. Actually, I don’t consider a chapter in my current WIP/ re-write finished until I’ve read it aloud to him.

This does two things for me. One, I hear my words as I read them. I can hear any awkwardness. Secondly, it gets him asking me questions that need to be answered. I am so lucky. He is spot on; I don’t think I’ve disagreed with him yet. And even if I did, I would seriously consider his critiques before deciding not to change it.

In any case, he inspires me to be a better writer. I love it when he thinks my chapters are awesome and he has no questions. I love it when he does have questions too because it is fun to look at the chapter and make it deeper or more than it was originally.

©K. Klein 2012

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Inspiration & criticism

  1. My brother was the only person I let read sections of my first novel while I was writing it, he was so helpful 😀 Though sometimes I would catch him reading parts over my shoulder while I was reviewing them that he didn’t have permission to read (I’m very secretive when I write lol), I’d be scrolling down a page, skimming things and then hear “What! Don’t scroll down yet I’m not done!” It scared the crap out of me, but it was nice knowing he wanted to read more and was willing to risk my wrath to do so, lol.

    • Haha that is funny. My brother gets mad at me when I start a project and then abandon it. There is a half-written novel I started in 2007 that he bugs me about every so often. 🙂 It is awesome when brothers are sweet and supportive.

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