Which piece of wisdom, you ask. “Be careful what you ask for. You may get it.”
I have completed a whydunit called UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. At least three times.
Two years ago, I thought I was done. I had written the best book I could and was ready for input. I gave copies to 10 friends, many of whom are published writers. And I gave 5 copies to one of my critique groups. I asked for honest feedback. And I got it.
Of course, I reacted as any calm, rational person would. I got pissed off!
Then, I sat back, thought about what I had requested, and read all of the comments without emotion. 15 people had 20 opinions. I sorted through the ones that worked for me and began a year-long rewrite. I also read about writing, contributed to two critique groups, and paid very careful attention to every piece of fiction I read.
Then I let the book sit for a couple of months while I wrote down the bones of a second book.
Finally I was ready to have my work reviewed again. Once more, more opinions, more suggestions, and more people trying to transform my style into theirs. I took all advice and considered every comment.
And then rewrote sections. At last, I was done. Until one person in a critique group asked to read the first 50 pages. To be polite, I agreed. Stupid me!
I got back 50 pages of totally marked up content. Many of the comments don’t work. Some do. I never expected this particular group member to have much to offer. Turns out, she does.
I’m considering a few of the comments that will not result in a complete rewrite. I plan to finish the current set of tweaks this month, begin the query process next month and see what happens.
Another Confucian bit of wisdom sits on my desk: “Know where you are going. You are likely to get there.” It’s right between my Japanese sign for tranquility and a stuffed anteater.
Sigh! Off to do some more editing.