Monday, May 21, 2012

The Harsh Critique

Note:  This blog is aimed at authors.  With the wonders of social media, feeling alone is a choice.  If my musings can help, inspire, or let one of you out there know that you're not alone either, then I'll keep openly sharing these chronicles.  Thank you for your visit.

   Over the past year, I wrote THE GAZE, and frankly I didn't know just what I had once I did what I thought was the final edit.  This book has gone on to garner some beautiful reviews and just like all of you out there, my fellow authors, I'd like to see another hundred reviews with all five shining stars at the heading. 
   Those of you who are there, drop me a line and let me know how it feels, please?
   And so, with a strong wind in my sails, I caved under the overwhelming demand to see more of these characters, particularly, Lewis Bettford. 
   My friend Lewis is the friend everyone wants.  Even me.  I could use his support, his brutal honesty, and his superior company, more times than I could count.  If you wonder why, then may I humbly suggest you read the novel and get to know him.  I dare say you will message me, asking to see more of him.
   Thus, the work for THE NEXT CHAPTER began.
   For obvious reasons I will not tell you much about the book, but I'll tell you that I'm close to achieveing a story of similar caliber to GAZE.
   I compare it to movie sequels.  They never beat the original. 
   Once you've allowed the story to throw you in every direction of the emotional spectrum, you refuse to settle for anything less, and the expectation is higher than you could've anticipated. 
   There are several of you writing series, and maybe I'm not alone in this swim against the current of replicating what the first story meant.  This is where it gets tricky. 
   Often we try to give our main characters some new attribute, taking the risk of detracting the person your readers have come to know and love.  At this point, if the risk doesn't pay off, chances are you will disappoint your reader.  That literally keeps me up at night.
   Recently I made an advance reader out of a trusted friend, and fan of GAZE.  I eagerly awaited her reactions to the new story, and often bit my nails hoping I'd hear something favorable.  When the critique finally came, it confirmed my gnawing fears.
   I'm nowhere near to what GAZE is.

   A philosopher of obscure reputation named T.L. Tate once said, "The harshest of critiques from a true friend is an invaluable tool."
   I'm glad I recalled that quote.  If you've done any writing in the attempt to impress an audience, writing a speech, an article, a novel, I'm sure you've been there.  I've seen friendships fall apart over critiques.  I've seen the uncomfortable smiles.  I've heard the uttering of apologies.  I've been on both ends of it all.  Neither one is easy. 
   However, if you know that friend is true, and that inner judge we all have, has been telling you, your script is not good enough, it's inevitable to feel that kick in the gut when you have no choice but to accept, it just wasn't good enough.
   At this point you have two choices.  Choose the healthy one.
   Harness that energy and tap into that tortured soul most of us invoke, and hit the keys with a new goal in mind.  Use that invaluable tool to polish what you have and change the mind of your critic.  After all, would you rather hear it from ONE person who cares about you, or would you rather see ONE star reviews from a hundred people. 
   T.L. Tate, despite his eccentricity, has those moments of wisdom that have helped me out in my budding writing career.  Never more than at this moment, when I'm seriously contemplating rewriting the entire manuscript.
   I want my friend to know how much I appreciate the harsh critique, and when THE NEXT CHAPTER becomes a worthy read, as I intend to make it, I want my friend to know that the harsh critique was precisely the wake up call I needed.
   This is what's on my mind today.  The blog is called Out of the Mind of Yours Truly, after all.
   And now, to hit the keys with renewed purpose...


  1. You are a smart mind and a class act J. Kudos to you for your courageous will take you to places you've never dreamed you'd be.

  2. Javier, this is the right frame of mind. Your attitude and integrity will make the difference between a good story and a great one. Adelante!