Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Just When You Thought It Was Over . . .

Mindy here. There's a story I've been working on for a really LONG time. I cut my writing teeth on this story. I love this story. I finally figured this story out. After a major overhaul of the manuscript, I said I was done with it, until an agent or editor instructed me otherwise. I sent it off to a contest. I finaled. Yay!

But the story doesn't end there. After some glowing comments from the first round of judges, the final round judge, an editor, did an extensive crit on those thirty pages. Ouch! So much for being done.

I then did what any self-respecting writer would do. I wallowed in some well-deserved chocolate, then licked my cocoa-covered wounds and pulled myself up by my bootstraps to hit it again. I poured over that crit, letting things percolate. When I was a novice writer, I would have made every change that was suggested. But that's not the right approach either. When God gives us a story, we have to tell it His way. Our job is to listen to Him.

Some of this editor's comments resonated with me. But not all of them. Editors have likes and dislikes, just like we do. There are things they gravitate to while others turn them off. I whole-heartedly appreciate the line edit this editor did. What a learning experience. But just because he/she suggested I do something, doesn't mean it's right for my story. Will I use some of the suggestions? You bet. Will I rework the entire portion to suit this person's liking? Most likely not.

Eventually, this story will find its way into other contests. Judges may or may not like it. But it's all good, and every bit of it grows me as a writer.

Have you ever entered a contest and then felt compelled to change something based on one person's opinion? Did you do it? Were you happy with the change? Share your contest experiences.

Happy Tuesday, everyone :-)


  1. Mindy,
    I'm right with you. Especially on the book you cut your writer teeth on, LOL!

    You know, if I don't feel strong or agree with a suggestion, I usually don't change it. We have a reason for doing what we do in these stories and if it's something we feel God has led us to include or say a certain way, then I would stand firm by that.

    Great post!

  2. You're definitely not alone, Mindy. Although contest comments are appreciated, I try to keep in mind the judge/editor is only seeing the beginning pages. I've had suggestions that change facts that would change my entire story. Unless the judge/editor gives me a really good reason to change this, I usually don't.

    I've never had a line edit from an editor before so count yourself lucky there. I've just gotten rejected so far. You may want to contact that judge and ask if they would be interested in seeing the partial again after you make the change.

  3. Thanks, Christy. I knew you'd understand :-)

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  5. Dianna, this is the first time I've had a line edit from an editor. Like I said, it was a learning experience. However, I know if an editor loves a story, they'll find a way to make it work. My story was not their cup of tea.
    As for the beginning pages, I went to one of DiAnn Mills Intensive Fiction Mentoring Clinics. In it she said we have a minute and a half to grab a reader's attention. First the title and cover art, second the back copy cover, then the first page. If the reader isn't smitten by then, they set the book back on the shelf and continue on. Yikes! No wonder we work so hard on those opening lines.

  6. Mindy, I've found that I may not change something exactly as it's suggested. But what I do is look for the intent of the suggestion. Figure out what the problem was that led to the comment. And even if I don't fix it in the way suggested, I try to fix it some other way that fits me better. I think this has really helped me in dealing with revisions (a fact of life in publishing!). :)

    Good luck in future contests with the story!