Time to Toughen Up

Two days ago on Twitter, @CooksUpAStory advised authors grow thicker skin and learn to manage our works being critiqued.

I’m approaching this with extreme reluctance. I decided to start by listening to professionals critique other people’s work.

It’s a baby step, I admit, but I’m still moving forward, right?

I listened to the Red Penning Romance podcast, Episode 5: Snow Daze. Mary and Jeremy pull no punches. They are blunt and cutting, but always clear.

I’ll be honest, it was hard to listen to — but it was also valuable. If I’m going to create something and put it out in the world, some people may like it, but guaranteed many will deeply hate it.

So here’s what I learned from that episode:

  • Things have to make sense. (This came up a lot.)
  • If you give a character a unique name. Have a damned good reason for that and make that clear to your reader.
  • Times and sequences of events matter. Check for this when proofing.
  • Think carefully about motivation. What drives your character? And is that even plausible? If you were in that situation, would you do that? Can you imagine anyone else ever doing that?
  • Don’t allude to uber famous writers in your own work. It comes across as bragging.
  • Don’t use the phrase “meet cute” in your novel, even if your story is about a romance author who is plagued by the meet-cute beat.

Toughen up with me and give Red Penning Romance a go. Good advice with callous-building commentary.

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