Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Never Admit Defeat

I guess it may turn out to be that I am the last person in the universe to conclude that I am incapable of writing books for children.

My two closest friends, both successful writers, have expressed deep concern over the state of this manuscript. One has said, repeatedly, "It is the worst thing you have ever written." The other said that you need to be 50 years old to read it. In other words, not accessible to the 8-12 year old market for which I am aiming.

My two closest family members loved it. Beyond measure. Well, bully for me. I managed to convince my husband and one parent. I must be a freakin' genius. Kristen likes it. That makes one person who's not related to me. One.

The thing is, I do not believe the negative criticism. At all. I think it is a great book. It may not be finished, but it is great. More importantly, it is what I want. I want to write this book, perfect this book, publish this book, and read this book in public. None of my other projects, more sophisticated and literary in nature, make me feel pride. They all seem like, well, okay, I wrote this knobby thing. It may divert you.

I have concluded that the book needs something major, something sweeping, something to change the entire thing. Something holistic. Something never seen before under the sun. When it has that, the diction won't matter.

For now, I am going to keep working through it, revising and embellishing it. It's like decorating a lamp with buttons and beads. If you really love the lamp and every bead makes you love it more. Liking the work this much, how can I be completely wrong about it?

In the process of doing this, I will have a big idea that will change the whole book. I have them for other people. Why shouldn't I have one for me?


  1. That's the spirit! Use the criticism constructively, but don't let it get you down. Did anyone really think that a story about an orphaned wizard would sell? Stick with what you believe!

  2. You don't get into specifics, but I don't like your friends comments, especially the first. It doesn't seem constructive to me: it's the worst thing you've written? How? What about it is so so bad? How could it be addressed? That's constructive. But to merely say it's not your best?

    It's bad critique because it has no real content. So disregard it. Plug away at it. Explore the big idea. Turn over every stone. Love it as you love it. Have you considered approaching teachers with the manuscript and joining age-appropriate classes for story time to gauge your actual target audience? That may provide a little more useful insight.

    Thanks for dropping by my blog, by the way!

  3. I have to agree with Av on the critique.
    I don't know if you watch Project Runway, but season 2 winner Chloe Dao had said "This is what I wanted, so if I had to defend it at least I loved it." I try to remember that when I may get into a situation when I have to defend my work/emotion/my anything. When you love what you do/write/say/feel no one can take that away from you.

  4. Well, seems to me that even if everything you wrote was great and wonderful, something would be "the worst" as it is a superlative and all that. So, the worst doesn't have to even mean bad. Hey, sometimes I'm the shortest person in my family, but no one would call me short.

    Anyway, you love it, stick with it. Your passion for it is what matters.

    Oh, and Franz is good!

  5. I really LOVE your attitude. I wish I could adopt that for my own life!!!

  6. What a great way to look at things. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. well, you already know i love it. i give it kisses with tongue yea and verily. so there.

  8. I didn't know you were blogging here... I haven't read your manuscript (obviously), but I love your blog! hehe. Really, though, I am going to adopt your beading analogy. I have not yet sent out my fiction for critique from friends or otherwise, but even when I'm feeling my most self-critical I can't help but go back to it, thinking that if I love it so much it must be o.k.!
    (please don't judge my writing/grammar/sentence structure by this comment post ;)


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