UnBlinded: Revising the Second Draft
419 Specific Comments
I’ve just gotten back two critiques on the second draft of my WIP novel. 419 specific comments. I’m excited.
- Larger concerns. Each critique was accompanied by a letter with larger concerns. Both are still concerned that the characterization needs work. One would like a stronger opening and one thinks a subplot is off-kilter. Those will get my attention first and foremost in this revision. But after two drafts, this third draft needs attention to the finer details.
- Specific comments. One critiquer was kind enough to say my sentences were beautifully written. But she still had hundreds of specific comments:
- Characters weren’t believable in what they said or did.
- Motivations were unclear.
- Motivations were clear, but a bit more detail would help make it even clearer.
- Awkward wording.
- Actions needed clarification.
- Continuity questions – if this happened on p. 12, then why this on p. 23?
- Minor spelling and grammar typos (of course, not errors! Just typos!)
- Suggested deletions.
- Suggested rewordings.
- Character questions to me, the author. Does this character really care about this?
- Asking for more reaction from a character.
- Needs better grounding in the scene – where are we? On foot? In a car?
- Questions of logic.
Different from an Editor’s Revision Letter
One friend reminded me that this is SO different from an editor’s letter requesting revision.
- Argue. For one thing, I am free to argue with, question, or ignore the critique’s specific suggestions. She’s great at letting me argue, until she says something a different way and the light breaks through my thick skull. I know it’s common for critiques to be set up NOT to allow arguing, but I need it. Simply telling me what’s wrong doesn’t help; I need to understand WHY it’s wrong, weak, ineffective.
- Over the Hump. The second way it’s different is that this critique is designed to get me over the rejection-hump into editorial territory. An editor would reject the story if I sent in this second draft. I knew that, or I wouldn’t have sent it for a critique. Hopefully, this third draft will be a cleaner, sweeter, story, ready for an editor’s 419 specific comments!