The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood (of which I am a proud member) unveils our blog today (9/21/2009) in honor of the opening of Golden Heart® season.
For everyone considering the Golden Heart® contest or working on polishing their manuscripts, the Sisterhood is offering critiques and other giveaways for our inaugral month as well as tips and musings on our respective writing journeys. These women are some of the most amazing and inspiring people I’ve met and, as you can see from the blog, quite a fun group.
The Golden Heart® will always hold a special place in my heart. Before I was announced as a finalist, very few agents or editors would give my time period a chance. The GH® opened doors for me and in a span of three months I went from having a manuscript that was almost ready to be stuffed under the bed to signing an agent and selling!
My first blog for the RSS is this Friday in which I discuss why I finaled. I’m giving away a first chapter critique on that day and I hope that the GH® will open doors for many aspiring authors this year. Other Ruby Sisters are offering critiques as well, so come by and join the launch party all month.
Oh, and definitely ogle the beautiful site design from our own Elisabeth Bemis. She did an amazing job, didn’t she?
Already I have a major change — Got a great title suggestion from chaptermate Elizabeth Grayson. Silk and Seduction is going to morph into The Dragon and the Pearl. Isn’t that snazzy? I’m very bad with title-fu so I’m sending cyber-kisses out to Elizabeth. *mwah* *mwah* I just lucked out with “Butterfly Swords”.
I finally got up the courage to open up Little Sis’ package with my manuscript for “D and P” inside. All in all, she was a lot harder on Butterfly first time around, so I’m feeling a little better. Sure she envisions rewriting everything after the midpoint on. *sigh* Got work to do.
It got me to thinking. Even though I don’t plan on putting in all the fixes she suggests verbatim, they’re each telling me something is missing there — whether it be conflict or characterization. Sometimes it’s a huge structural change, like I know I need some sort of milestone that the heroine and hero both achieve together in Chapters 12-14. It’s absent now. And some are 1-2 lines here and there, like evolving the relationship with each chapter.
That’s how I take all critiques. On the first level, the issue is “this is not working” and then the specific details give me clues about what might work. But even if I don’t agree with the clues, it doesn’t take away the fact that something needs to change. I think writers often stop listening when they don’t like the suggested tweaks.
Even though I rely heavily on Little Sis and other readers, in the end the revision comes down to very personal decisions. I’m reminded of a Tyson Beckford quote from Bravo’s “Make me a Supermodel”. (I confess, I watch trashy reality tv.)
Paraphrased, like all my quotes:
“A good model does what the cameraman wants them to do. A supermodel gives him something he didn’t even know he wanted.”