Yes, it’s that time! Check out other insecure writers, too!
This month, my insecurity is not directed at my writing… well it is, but in a round about way.
Like most writers, I have critique partners. For those who aren’t writers, this means that they read my work and I read theirs looking for inconsistencies, grammar errors, and plot holes.
This should be my cup of coffee (Yeah, I’m pro-caffienating for the day). I read really fast, have a penchant for remembering plot and character traits, and one of my pet peeves is inconsistencies in plot and characters.
Unlike a lot of critiquers, I try to keep my comments concise and fairly emotionally neutral. I might cheer and tell you about what I like, but what I about when I think you’re wrong? And really, who the hell am I to decide that you misstepped when writing characters that you know?
I use phrases like, ‘I think’ and ‘it feels’ and ‘it seems’. Things that will let the other writer know I’m stating an opinion. Because there is nothing worse than a declarative statement that you screwed up your own story. Not that I feel that way, but some critiquers really do write like their opinion is truth, and that they know your world and characters better than you do.
And I resolutely avoid ‘fixing’ people’s sentences and whatnot. On the rare occasion I think that a little editing will improve the flow (especially on conversations), I always, always, always finish my edits with: Or something like that. Write in your characters’ voice (which you do far better than me), but I think something along those lines will help.
Why do I do this?
Mainly, I’m still not sure I always make the best choices for my own stories, so who the hell am I to tell you about yours?
It’s also why I haven’t hung out a shingle for this sort of thing. I have often considered selling my editorial services. I can read a 90k word novel in about six hours. So I could, in theory, charge fifteen dollars, read your book twice (or three times) in a weekend, and write up notes. Then discuss with you the things I noted, and why I felt that way.
But, again, who the hell am I? I write werewolf stories for my own amusement. There are certain popular tropes that I just hate. I’m super progressive (something that absolutely shows up in my own work), and…
A little more faith in my own talent, and maybe I wouldn’t worry so much about my opinion, and whether or not I had the right to say something about your story.