I can’t believe it’s WiM Week 5 already! Last week, I posted my self-edited version and sent that baby off to my critique partners (CPs). This week, I thought I’d do a separate process post with a bit more details, since some seriously sweet brutality happened in this round for me. So please bear with me here while I talk about…
Critique Partners (CPs)
If there’s a lesson to be learned from my short stint at writing, it’s the important importance of having great CP eyes on your work! All too often, we read our own words so many times, things start to get blurry, and we end up missing stuff. Big, story-changing stuff. That’s where CPs come in. These fantastical beings are the butter to a writer’s bread, the guides who can help take a good-but-dry story to a rich-and-flavorful tale with a few magical slaps of honest feedback.
Luckily for us, we each got assigned two CPs, and boy did I ever win the lottery on matchups. Paulette and HM were AMAZING!!! They stepped up with excellent suggestions, leaving me with a ton of thoughts and work to do, but yes please, gimme em all! Also a big thank you to my fellow WiM writers Sheri and Steph, who offered feedback on my blog! I just hope I’ll do everyone justice with the bloodfest I’ll be posting tomorrow.
Processing the Feedback
So now that I’ve got all this awesome feedback, where the heck do I start? Here’s how I’ll tackle this thing.
- Go through the markups and accept/incorporate the no-brainer, sure-to-stay edits.
- Skip the remaining line edits for now. They may end up deleted anyway after the revision.
- List all the points of concern for each CP feedback.
- Take some time to consider each point on the list. If a point is repeated, move it straightaway to the Revision Plan. If a point is purely opinion, or contradicts another CP’s feedback, decide with gut whether to add or leave behind.
The Revision Plan
Now with the list narrowed down to a Revision Plan, let’s take a look at the points that made it in:
- Body language suggests she’s afraid, but words indicate otherwise
- What are the world building implications of a fallen France at this point in history?
- Would she be in America, or would it still be the Colonies?
- Would the French language be wiped from the world?
- Would the concept of “spring break” exist without America?
- Cross dressing comment feels out of place with tone of story
- Crisis/tension not really present and lacking in punch – there was almost complete acceptance immediately
- What are Joan’s personal stakes?
- Why should she give up her current life for a potential future nation?
- What’s so important about the nation that she must sacrifice herself?
- Time-traveling element could use a little massaging
- Will she be able to return if she creates a new cycle?
- Will her death at the stake end the cycle?
As you can see, I’ve got some story revamping to do. Time to brainstorm ideas for each of these points!
The Third Revision
After much procrastination, chores, Twitter chatting, and doing anything else but editing, I finally got down to tackling this mess. See, I was secretly brainstorming the whole time…hah! So anyway, I went back to the story, and one by one, slipped my ideas for each point into the narrative like a ninja.
Then I went back through and massaged the thing, smoothed out the edges. Those line edits I skipped over in Step 2? If the line survived and the suggestion fit, I incorporated it. Otherwise, I added, subtracted, and shuffled things around until all the words started to lose meaning. As I admitted back in WiM Week 1, that’s how I know I’m done. For now.
Tomorrow, I’ll probably go through my edit one last time before posting and sending it out to my fabulous editor Jeni Chapelle! I can’t wait to hear her thoughts, because I’m not exaggerating when I say, this woman has INSIGHTS.
Thanks for reading and please check back tomorrow for the latest edit of Joan! I’d love your thoughts on what I’ve done to address my CPs’ points!