Being given constructive criticism is hard for me. In fact, I will admit that it is one of my greatest weaknesses. Most of my family and all of my friends know this. My mom almost always starts her advice with something along the lines of "this is just my opinion, but..." because she knows if she doesn't, pretty soon I stop listening. I never really realized I did this until I had children, and when it hit me, I tried really hard to open my ears and learn to not take things so personally.
That being said, I have to admit I was very, very nervous to submit the entire manuscript of MOON DAUGHTER to my critique group in August, especially since I rushed to finish the last few chapters. Two gals at the group encouraged me to just put it out there. The entire group had a month to read, edit, and enjoy all 30,000 words of it. As judgement day approached, I tried not to dwell on it, reminding myself that every criticism would only help me to grow as a writer, and make my story stronger and more market worthy.
Still the day of, my body began to tremble like it always does before I have to perform (read public speaking, performing, interviews, etc...). I kept telling myself that everything was going to be okay. I face-timed my friend and confessed that I was certain they were going to tear me apart. She laughed and reassured me.
Of course, once the critiques began, I couldn't take notes fast enough! Not only did I get confirmation for some of my concerns, but some wonderful advice for some parts I knew needed work but had no idea what to do with. Lastly, I was complimented on my imagery. Anya even quoted some paragraphs she fell in love with and told me not to change them. All in all, I learned so much! Since then, I have altered the first seven chapters a lot, made Annalee a perpetual liar to make the lesson she learns at the end that much more significant to the reader, and made Mom more prominent and Annalee more concerned for her feelings. Oh and thank you to Roland for giving me the PERFECT name for this novel, which I will reveal soon.
Do I dare give you all a tease page to read? Comment below to convince me! :)