The beginner always falls apart emotionally when a manuscript is criticized. He reacts with raw feelings, resents, disputes, and will argue all the way down the line. He hasn’t learned yet that criticism must be accepted intellectually, and not with the emotions. There really is nothing personal about it. Nobody is saying that you are stupid, but only that you haven’t done it properly yet.
– Phyllis A. Whitney, Guide to Fiction Writing
One of the hardest things about writing fiction is the gap between that glittering new idea that shimmers in your mind and the dull, drab words that end up on the page. Not always drab, not always dull, but always, in all ways, not the bright shiny idea that tempted you down this path of writing the story in the first place. I want the glitter, the tenderness, the tension, and the celebration. The reader wants that too.
Got feedback today: kind, well-intentioned, and depressing.
In Sebastian’s story, I do not think I’ve gotten the characters to reveal themselves early enough to hook the reader. I’m starting the story in the right place, I’m sure of that. Perhaps I need to polish the dialogue so their emotional response to events comes across more clearly.
For now, though, I am going to go on and write James’ story. This will have the added bonus of throwing light on Sebastian and Sophie from the point of view of a secondary character in their story. That will help with revisions.
Plus, James is getting impatient. He’s not one to sit idly on the sidelines watching me wrestle with his friend’s storyline. I need to write his story before he highjacks Sebastian’s.