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.
Well, 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….”
What??? 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.