I got to take another trip to see the Writer-in-Residence at Western University today. The last I spoke with him, Gary Barwin suggested I take the writing we had gone over that day and edit it, then return so we could see where we were at.
First reaction – it’s better. Yeah!
And while that should be a given, he noted that he had recently spoken with someone else who had made changes after their consultation and the piece was worse. A lot worse. So his words were encouraging. That being said, there were still plenty of marks on the pages he printed off for us to go over. But it is all good.
I have come to realize that constructive criticism is exactly that – constructive! If someone doesn’t get what is going on in the scene, or worse, what you are trying to imply, then it’s not usually their fault. That’s right, it is yours.
You may call it a lack of clarity, but whatever you do, don’t get discouraged. If someone points out places where they are confused, then that is exactly where you need to go back and make changes so other readers don’t become confused as well. No need to challenge your poor readers, as they are the very people that we writers are trying to reach! Do everything you can to enchant them!
So while I return once more to the beginning of my story, I don’t think I will have to spend that much more time there. Some minor revisions here. Cut a few words, sentences, or even a paragraph there, but I am on my way. Before I know it, I will be leaving Cape Town behind and getting into the meat of my adventure. Back to Africa with me…