After all the years I’ve spent writing, you’d think I would learned my lesson. But no, I managed to make the same mistake again a few weeks ago. I’d finished a draft of my new novel, Anywhere’s Better Than Here. I felt like it was strong, really strong. After all, it had already gone through many drafts as a screenplay, and this was the second draft of the novel version. I was really just adding to it, making it better; tighter in some place, looser in others. I was sure my beta readers were going to tell me how wonderful it was, how it was just a few short tweaks away from being ready to send out.
Boy, was I wrong.
My beta readers are kind, but they’re tough too. They pointed out all the obvious weaknesses in the draft, things I couldn’t see because I was too close to it. The opening scene that I thought was killer? They hated it. “It’s good for a first draft,” one of them said. Ugh.
What to do? My first reaction when I get criticism is to tell myself I’m a terrible writer and I really should be doing something easier, like brain surgery or running for president. Once I get that out of my system, I give myself more rational messages: At least they’re telling me what my book needs. I wouldn’t get that from an agent. I’ve been through this many times before. I’ll get through it again. I have too many skeletons in my closet to run for president.
The next thing I need to do is step away from the book for a while to give everything a chance to digest. Right now I’m working on the first draft of Goddess, Book 2. In a few weeks, I’ll reread all the notes I’ve been given, re-outline the book, and return to battle. I know I’ll get through this and come out the other side with a better book and as a better writer. I will survive.
Otherwise, vote Kelee Morris in 2020.
Best wishes and happy writing,