Ouch! Being Critiqued Hurts.

That thudding you hear is me banging my head against my desk. A few weeks ago, I sent the first six chapters of Miss Dee Ann Meets Murder to three critiquers.  Now I know their job was not to sprinkle fairy dust and blow sunshine.  I paid these people to tell me the unvarnished truth about this novel I’ve been working on for OVER FIVE YEARS.

20170812_081618Well, in spurts, I admit. But still….  I’ve sacrificed a lot of HGTV time trying to pen my great American novel.

Which, I’ve been told, isn’t so great. Not in its current form, anyway.  Here are a couple of direct quotes from Critiquer #1:

“You write well, and there’s a lot here that rings true. But there are other things I think you could sharpen….Make it a real mystery right from the beginning….Make Dee Ann more sympathetic….Speed up the beginning…”

She ends with “There’s a lot of promise here. I wish you the best.”

And I thought I was closing in on my final draft.

Critiquer #2 was even harsher. Among other things, she didn’t like Baby Heather.  “…the truth is, Heather doesn’t seem entirely credible.  All the reader hears about is Heather going down for a nap or wailing, getting strapped in a car seat, etc.  We need details about Dee Ann’s life as a mother, if that’s her shtick.  I had a question, in fact, whether you have a child or children….”

IMG_0513What??? I had three baby girls once upon a time and when they were Heather’s age (three months old), I really don’t remember a lot of action other than napping, wailing, and my strapping them into infant seats.

Okay, okay, I know I don’t need to get all defensive here. If I’m honest with myself, I should include more description.  The critiquer did suggest I could have Dee Ann “cursing the batteries in the baby swing that aren’t working anymore, eyeballing the mashed beef like it’s dog food, taking out the diaper pail, or throwing something away in it.”

Good ideas, I grudgingly have to admit.

So, it’s back to the drawing board for me, to use a cliché, which I was also warned against. I’ll incorporate what I think works and disregard the rest.

I will survive, and so will Ms. Dee Ann Meets Murder.


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7 Responses to Ouch! Being Critiqued Hurts.

  1. Ginger Haden says:

    Is this your first book to publish? Interesting the things they chose to look upon with such detail. Keep writing, others may just love your writing more than some.


  2. Barbara Raynor says:

    Keep writing and revising and I know you will get your book the way you want it very soon. I have great faith in your talents and abilities. Remember I am looking forward to living next door to a famous author. What better incentive could you have to succeed. LOL


  3. Debbie Lee says:

    I love your writing style, and it is hard to hear criticism, but as you said, some of it was good advice. You have it right. Incorporate what works for you and leave the rest out. It’s your voice and your mystery. And some of us readers like to ease into a story!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Barbara Raynor says:

    Wow, someone was really lucky to have a battery operated baby swing back in the ’70’s. Most of them were hand crank models until the late ’80’s. I know my daughter had a new hand cranked model and she was born in ’85. I don’t think the battery operated ones came out until later. Just a thought to consider if you have been told to have accurate reference examples for the time period. I may be wrong, but I know we hated for the swing to stop, because then we had to crank it back up, and it would jolt Blair awake. I know I was really impressed when I saw a battery operated swing years later and I wished they were around when Blair was a baby. Of course, I may be delusional. My memory is not what it used to be these days. LOL


  5. patsypridgen says:

    Barbara, you are one sharp cookie! Good point. Frankly, I can’t remember whether that baby swing in the above picture was battery-operated or not. That’s my middle daughter in it so the year would be maybe 1982. I don’t think I’ll chance a reference to a battery-operated baby swing in a novel set in 1979. Maybe have Dee Ann lose her watch in the diaper pail. I do remember using cloth diapers with my first two!


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