For me, one of the hardest things to do is to revise my own work. It’s difficult for me to see the flaws, because I’ve usually read the words so many times that they become natural for me. Also, I’m usually so close to the writing that it just “feels” right. But I do understand that in order to get my best piece out there, I will have to do some major revisions.
My WIP right now is undergoing a massive revision. After attending the Prairie Writers’ Day conference in Chicago this fall, I realized that I needed to inject it with voice. The way it was, no one reading would really get to know the main characters, and that is key for good writing. I decided that the best way to do this is to rewrite it in the first person, thus hearing the story directly from the character herself.
The writers’ conference really helped me to look at my novel in a new way, but there are other ways to do this too. The best way is to have other people read it. Lots and lots of other people—and not just your mother and grandma, because as much as they love you, they might not be the most critical voices. I am a part of an amazing writers’ group—amazing because of the wide range of genres that we work in. There’s a children’s’ poetry author and fellow blogger, Kelly. Cathy has the eye of an editor, and she writes short stories. While Angela is part memoirist, part children’s storywriter, part editorialist. This range of eyes on my words can only make my work more scrutinized.
Another way to have your writing seen by others is to follow blogs such as Miss Snarks First Victim, and Nathan Bransford, or Legend of the Protectors, and hope that you enter their contests in time. On these blogs, you’ll get constructive criticism from other writers.
I have really appreciated all of the invaluable advice I’ve received from my readers, and my WIP is transforming from a lump of coal into something maybe just a bit shinier.