I've been helping a couple of friends with their books recently and have realised two things: when you edit/review someone else's MS it helps you understand your own writing and also helps you realise you need help with your own book.
Editing the two books has helped me understand the shortcomings in my own writing, descriptions especially. Giving detailed background when needed is a requirement of any book and one I'm not particularly good it. (My first two books attest to that) That's partly due to me being in a hurry to read, and therefore get to the end of my own stories, and partly as I find it difficult.
To be truthful, it's mostly because I'm in a hurry to live my life. I want to do things, but also get them over with quickly. I'm learning to accept situations and settle into life, which maybe a consquence of being over 50, but it's still a struggle. I know most of the reasons why I have this feature in my mental makeup, but I'm sure there are things in my mental closet that are hiding, waiting to jump out at me at any moment and go BOO!
Secondly, a writer can get too close to their own work. The best ones accept advice, criticism and comments from anyone and everyone. Even if they then dismiss the ideas and thoughts. Some comments can be made from jealousy or a desire to see you fail, but most are honest opinions that should be heeded and if not used, then a reason given for not using them.
I've always shied away from other's opinions as I've had too many people around me in my past trying to manipulate, control and put me down. I now have some good people around me whose opinions I trust and who I will ask to read my third book when I get it finished.
Whenever some one writes a story, they put themselves on the page in some form. The lazy writer looking to cash in on their sudden fame or celebrity will show it in the way they write rather than in what they write, selecting the genre that's the flavour of the month, while the arrogant writer will try and bamboozle you with their eloquence.
Real writers pick genres with which they feel the most affinity, where they can stretch themselves and release their ideas to the world, and reveal themselves through their characters, and their lives in a way that they could never do in real life.
I certainly do.
There is a part of me in every character, a dream in every story, a desire in every philosophy that underpins the worlds I create. It's that aspect of writing which both thrills and scares me, that I'm putting myself on the page for all to see. Yet, I know I've grown, as these days I can listen to the criticism, analyse it and discard the cruel intentions. It's so much more difficult for the manipulators to get their fingers into my mind.
See you on Friday.