I showed the first few chapters of my book to a couple of close friends yesterday. I wasn’t too nervous as the writing was very rough and I pre-warned them that I was only really looking for story criticism. They came back telling me they really enjoyed the story and were excited to read more. They also both told me that just two chapters in to the book, they felt that one of the character’s actions felt abrupt and out of place. It surprised me that they could come to the same conclusion about one of the characters so quickly, but as they both had the same criticism something was clearly wrong.
I thought over the problem and once I felt that I understood it, I went back and rewrote some of the story to reflect the character’s personality better. The character contrast was glaring once it was pointed out to me, but before yesterday I would never have picked up on it. I’ve spent so long creating these characters and I know them so intimately that I become blind to a lot of things. I forget that readers will be seeing these characters for the first time and will only just be developing their first impressions.
I suppose my point is that as long as it’s constructive, always be open to criticism of your work. Sometimes it just takes a fresh pair of eyes to spot the obvious. And embracing your mistakes will only help you develop in to a better writer.
© 2015, Gavin Zanker. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Photo by Ricky Cain licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.