The first time I sent my Sci-Fi manuscript to get a seven page critique, ten years ago, I was floored and angry. The things said about my baby. Through a Writer’s Digest magazine ad I found Jane Rafel, editor. I chose her because she lived close by at the time in New York.
My first reaction was she doesn’t understand Sci-Fi, which might be true, but she understood the writing craft all too well. She pointed out the good about the plot before she pointed to the h*** in it. It took me a week of rereading the insults I had paid her for until my ego finally subsided to the facts that she pointed out all too well.
I’ve learned to be careful about criticizing other people’s work. First off, they could be bigger than me. I always try to do it with a smile if possible. I first point out the best thing about the work in question before pushing their ego into the h*** of the plot like Jane did. Jane did end the report on a positive note about the book. I did finish “Lord Skyler and The Earth Defense Force” and its won a couple awards so far including Best Sci-Fi/Horror novel at the 2010 DIY New York City Book Festival.
It is necessary to point out the mistakes and it’s natural to feel hurt or anger over an attack on your baby. I’ve learned to let that emotion happen but only when the person who criticized me is not around. I realize the emotion is a knee jerk reaction. It usually takes me a couple of days to put the emotions aside and try to see their point of view and use their critique to polish up my book. I’ve had many more critiques and I have learned from each one, and yes sometimes they don’t know what they are talking about but most times they do.
Jane Rafel’s two edits on my book were well worth the price in lessons learned on the craft of writing.
I believe I will make mistakes in everything I do and I will smile and learn from them and move forward.
Matt T. Schott
Lord Skyler and The Earth Defense Force
available at Amazon, B&N and 33 other online book stores including my store front at lulu