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  • Writer's pictureCherry Northcutt

Riding the Wave of Self Doubt

I am smart enough to know better than to take any criticism too seriously. I am also immature enough to somehow let things get to me anyway.

Right now, I am riding the wave of self-doubt. I got a rejection letter (my first) this week and it had some good feedback and I didn’t expect to get picked up by an agent that soon anyway. Here’s the main take-away from it:

I simply did not feel the level of enthusiasm for the project that would take us to the next step. With regret, I must step aside.

I did go to my critique group and that is problematic for me. I want honest feedback but then, I take it with a grain of salt because I don’t necessarily agree with it. Someone in my critique group said, in the same breath, they want more description and also, it’s too wordy.

I got a critique partner online in a group for cozy mystery writers. She had some good things to say and also some bad things. Some very bad things. Focusing on the negative, here are some of the bad things she had to say –

· Your main character dug her own hole in life. She has been a doormat.

· As a reader, I’m bored. It’s chapter 8 already and there’s been no murder.

· It doesn’t ratchet up the tension at all.

· I’m looking for personal growth and I’m not seeing any.

· I’m having trouble connecting to the main character. She keeps making bad decisions.

Okay, but…

I once saw a T-shirt slogan that said, “Bad decisions make good stories.”

I do appreciate her honesty. I should also mention that in the exact same paragraph, this critic said my characters were fully developed and then two sentences later she said there’s no character development. So, which one is it?

Large grains of salt – very salty.

Here are the positive things that my critic had to say:

· Your writing is engaging and fun

· You have a great writing style

· You have a real talent

· All the characters have been fully developed

· You did a great job writing it

· The mystery aspect was solid

· Your writing style caught my attention for much longer than most published books in this style

So far, no one has told me I’m completely delusional and have no chance, so at least that’s positive. Now, on to my fourth re-write.

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