Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Relax! It's Not As Bad As You Think

At the moment I'm critiquing a story for one of my critique partners. She sold to Silhouette Special Edition (yay!!) and we're currently going through her editor's suggested revisions. I've learned a lot taking this journey with her. One thing that comes to mind, unpublished writers need to relax!

This story is amazing. The characters are flawed, lovable and 3-dimensional. The plot is strong and the conflicts, believable. But I've noticed a few things. It also has plenty of unnecessary name tags, repetitive words, passive voice and was 7k words over the word limit. And guess what? She sold anyway.

What does this tell us? The bottom line is the story. It didn't matter that she had one too many she saids or had some form of turn more times than I can count. What mattered was her ability to tell a captivating story and do it well.

As a critique partner, I do line crits. I point out the overuse of name tags and repeating words, because, let's face it, we all want our submission as close to perfect as possible, but I don't stress over it. What most important is, believable conflict. Good pacing. Does the plot make sense and most important, does the writing suck you in.

If all those things are present, who cares about a misplaced comma. It's all about the writing.



  1. Congrats to your crit partner.

    It is reassuring to know that your ms can be less than mechanically perfect and still garner the right kind of attention.

    I've also read about debut authors who have had their stories accepted then almost totally reworked by the editor. The author said the story turned out better, which is great, but I wondered why it was accepted to begin with. It took me a moment (or two or three) to realize that voice, style and/or that "something" the editor saw in the pages made them take a chance on the author.

    That's also reassuring : )