I've finally submitted Ch. 10 to my crit group, done a few reviews of other's work (I'm trying to get back in the habit, but haven't been critiquing as much since summer happened.) I'm putting all of the scribbles above into the computer, but mostly the marks are quick suggestions. 99% of the time I play some more. I've been wondering if I can do this. I'll share a few incidents.
On a road trip last weekend, I took a turn driving. Nathan wanted to sleep, but told me he wasn't quite drowsy enough. He asked a lot of questions about my book, listened to a plot summary of the first 8 or 9 chapters, then told me he was ready to sleep. I said fine, let me finish telling you about this chapter. I continued with the summary, asked him a question (Probably 'Does that make sense?') and got no response.
I'd totally set myself up, since he told me he was really tired and starting to nod off, but my inner scaredy-cat pounced. "You bored your husband to sleep," she purred. (This is why I don't like cats. Just kidding, cat-people. I like cats fine, wouldn't mind having one, except they like to sit on your computer or open book or whatever, and I have kids to do that.)
In his defense, he does fall asleep really fast, and had been working a lot, not sleeping enough, etc.
But still. He fell alseep.
I have about six chapters out with my mom, and another friend has the first three chapters. I've been waiting for them to bring it up.
No more. Last night I asked my mom how much she'd read. She knew I was really asking what she thought and said "It's better than the last version I read". Ouch. Bad Kitty.
She did say it in a really sincere way, not an I-have-to-tell her-something way. The first version made her cry, so for it to be better is good, right? (But mothers all cry about that kind of stuff. I cry over my kid's word-for-word copy of their teacher's example of a Mother's Day card.)
I was hoping for a call three weeks ago, her asking me to email her the rest Because She Has to Know What Happens Next! If your mom won't do that, who will?
I've gotten back two reviews from the crit group. Both were positive and honest and reassuring to my battered ego. They did not say it was perfect, ready to publish, but I knew it wasn't. I just want some progress.
I read a crit partner's new version of her ch. 1 and it was so much better. It wasn't perfect, but her hook was there, characterization was there. Somehow it made me happy for both of us.
Where have your big lifts come from? If you want to hear a great podcast on how to use emotion in the writing process and guide the readers' emotions, check out this "Writing Excuses".