(Or I got my critique back from Kristen Lamb!)
I was lucky enough to snag a 20 page critique from Kristen Lamb, and I worked up my authorly nerves and sent her my pages. Note that pretty much no one but my mom has ever read my writing, much less a Professional.
Waited ten days.
Sent a anxious ‘did it not arrive?’ email.
It had, she assured me, but she was still working on it.
It came back, and even knowing that it would be rough, I teared up and called my husband. And he was all ‘why on earth would you open this at work?’, but it has now been a couple days and I can see things a little more clearly.
Seriously, critiques always hurt, and I always want to argue with them, but after a few days I can see where they were absolutely right, so I try not to talk about them while I’m waiting for my sanity to kick in.
One, she’s a fabulous critiquer, and she really spent quite a bit of time working on my pages. She’s also very snarky, and a few of her comments made me laugh. That’s the good.
The bad, is there wasn’t a single positive comment on the critique. BUT I knew going in that it was likely to be that way.
The bad: she couldn’t tell my story was Fantasy and had corrected anachronisms. She pointed out that if she couldn’t tell it was Fantasy in twenty pages, something was wrong. This is fair.
My world building is TERRIBLE. I knew I had problems with world building, but I had no idea it was so bad.
The bad: in 20 pages the characters did a whole lot of nothing. I started the story too soon, and there’s no clear character goal or plot in the first section. There is a clear plot and goal… later. But that won’t snag a reader.
So I was upset, but she’s right, I can see she’s right, and I’m really happy I got this critique.
On the other hand, rescuing this novel will require a TON of work. I’m hoping to meet up with a close friend (Skype!) and brainstorm world building, because this simply will not work without it.
And I will admit, that I did spend a day in doom and gloom mode convinced I am the WORST writer in the world, complete with despondent tears.
But what she pointed out is clear, and fixable.
I just need to put the time in.
TL;DR: The critique was totally worth it, and I am a terrible writer, but I can probably get better.