Two steps forward…

…and then, inevitably, one back. AMIRITE?! *puts imaginary gun to head*

Two critique partners have pointed out a disgusting flaw in my story to me. It’s not one that previous readers mentioned, but now I’m slapping myself for not seeing it, and my muse has been sent to sit in the corner and think about what he allowed me to do.


Anyway, it’s nothing I can’t fix, and everything is going to be better for it (this is why I loves my CPs), but it’s something that seems relatively simple at first glance… and then makes you go “holy crap, this changes SO MUCH OF EVERYTHING.”

So two steps forward (people like the story, things are good), one step back (partial revisions needed again). Pretty much what I expected, basically. Sometimes you know something’s not right but can’t figure it out, and you have to find people who care enough to gently smack you with a 2×4 of readerly/writerly wisdom to help you focus on potential poopstorms.

I’m actually happy about this. I want my work to kick as much ass as possible and I never want to put out a book that makes multitudes of readers go “Why did no one point this crap out to her?” My inner perfectionist, however? She is pitching A SHIT FIT. She’s such a bitch, I swear. I can critique other people’s work, find flaws, and think no less of them as a writer or a person. If I make a mistake, though, Miss Perfect gets all huffy and tells me I should be embarrassed, get all emo, give up already, maybe re-think the whole writing thing or switch to something marketable like zombie porn. (Don’t look at me like that. These are both huge things in publishing today!)

*zombie/prostitute joke removed because I respect you all too much*

But that’s just Miss Perfect talking, and I’ve learned one important thing about her: She’s not me. Simple, yet profound. These thoughts are not me. These thoughts are not truth. These thoughts lead down a rabbit hole I have no interest in exploring. I am allowed to tell my old friend companion tormentor to shove off and take her nastiness with her. It’s a good feeling.

Why am I sharing this with you all? Two reasons. One, because I think honesty helps all of us. If me talking about my failings/setbacks helps someone else understand that mistakes are okay, we can’t do this alone and shouldn’t expect ourselves to, then I’ll do it. The second reason is that I might not be talking too much about writing for a wee, tiny little while, just until I get this all sorted out in my mind.

My thoughts needs to incubate, yo. Hang on a sec.

*sigh* Yes, you can come out of the corner…

OK, back to work for us. I’ll be posting a few times this week, probably about my trip to Ontario. There’s SO much I wanted to share with you guys! You know, besides the unicorn. That one couldn’t wait.

I don’t know whether I’ll be posting for WIPpet Wednesday, but I’ll be back to commenting on everyone’s work this week, and trying to get back into commenting on ROW80 stuff, too.

See you around!

*Just kidding. I love him… this is so my fault.


About Kate Sparkes

Kate Sparkes was born in Hamilton, Ontario, but now resides in Newfoundland, where she tries not to talk too much about the dragons she sees in the fog. She lives with six cats, two dogs, and just the right amount of humans. USA Today bestselling author of the Bound Trilogy (mature YA Fantasy), Into Elurien, and Vines and Vices. Writing dark, decadent, and deadly Urban Fantasy as Tanith Frost. View all posts by Kate Sparkes

24 responses to “Two steps forward…

  • Camilla Kyndesen

    Thank you for sharing! I can relate to having a little Miss Perfect inside, and I’m sure most writers have something similar πŸ™‚

    (And I kinda want to hear the zombie porn joke…)

    • Kate Sparkes

      Think I should start a mailing list for tasteless jokes that I edit out of my blog?

      You know, all one of them…

      I think a lot of us do have this issue, and it’s good to talk about it. Many writers don’t want to hear criticism because we believe that our work should be perfect right away, or that we should be able to do it alone. This leads to us not getting opinions/not hiring editors/being hurt by helpful critiques, and it keeps us from doing our best work. I say let’s all be imperfect and learn to accept the message, “this is good- here’s how it could be better.”

  • mysticcooking

    I totally understand! I’ve lost count of the times I thought an mss was done – it’s as good as it’s gonna get, I’d say smugly, and then I’d get some feedback and realize, no, there’s this whole thing I need to fix, which leads to other things to fix. And repeat. It’s hard to hear it, but like you said, it only makes the story stronger, and there’s nothing wrong with making those mistakes and then fixing them after.

    Happy editing! πŸ™‚

  • melissajanda

    Thanks for sharing Kate and don’t you dare give up on this writer thing. Don’t punish the Muse, punish the Doubter. He’s your real enemy. Send HIM to the corner, in fact, banish him permanently! I’m looking forward to reading your book. If the way you write on your blog is any indication,it will be fabulous!

  • sknicholls

    Feedback shines light in places we might not have seen had someone else not been holding the light.

  • Jae

    It just means your legit. I’ve had a few of those moments. If a writer hasn’t completely overhauled their book at least once they aren’t really invested in presenting the best story. It sucks and sometimes you have to pout about it for a little bit, but at the end of the day if you put in the work it comes out stronger. It happened to me last year after NY agents at the NY conference ripped out my story’s heart, chewed it up, then spat it back out. Okay, maybe that’s just how I felt. But I realized they were right, and spent the summer reworking my story so it was better. And again with Pitch Wars. And again via my latest CPs observations.

    So pat yourself on the back. You’re a real writer. And tell your inner perfectionist to take a long walk off a short bridge.

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