An Author’s Ego

We authors are brilliant. We pour our heart, sweat and blood into everything we write. After all that work, it’s a shock when some one either doesn’t like it or doesn’t get it. It’s clearly not our fault, so it must be them.

Ha.

Fear of criticism keeps some authors from letting others read their work.

Pride keeps some authors from listing to criticism.

The truth is — Good criticism is an author’s best friend.

Instead of fearing or rejecting it, listen to what‘s said, see if there’s something to it. If there is, make improvements.

I started working on Pegasus Colony some years ago. I gave my working manuscript to a friend to read. She gave it back and said, “I don’t care what happens to your main character. She’s boring.”

Best thing she could have said! (Yes, we’re still friends.)

I didn’t take my friend’s comment as a rejection. I took it as the truth. I was having troubles with the book that’s why I asked her to read it.

I was stumbling around trying to make both book and characters work, even though I didn’t fully understand either of them. Instead of continuing to squander my time wrestling with a bad story, I put the book on the bookshelf and worked on something else.

I liked the idea and still wanted to finish it, but I needed a vacation.

A couple of years later, I picked it up again. It was like a bran new story. This time around, the plot and characters solidified.

After a few more drafts, I again asked friends to read it.

Most like the main character, Jessica Hewitt, but for a couple of readers said she was too negative and whiny.

If two people have the same problem, you can bet a few thousand others will too. It’s better to take a look, with their comments in mind, than to ignore them.

In the beginning of the trilogy, Jessica is in a bad mood and out of sorts with herself and life. In the second book, her attitude begins to change. By the third book she finally has a mission and knows exactly what she wants to do with her life.

I needed to keep her in a bad mood in that first book, but not make her so negative that people didn’t like her, otherwise they wouldn’t read the trilogy.

I carefully read Jessica’s story and made changes.

Now she gets favorable reviews. I am frequently asked when the next book is coming out. All because I listened to my friend when she said Jessica was boring.

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More blogs about authors and writing can be found under Becoming a Great Author.  

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