Don’t Rush Your Writing by Deanna Jackson
Today we welcome a new columnist to Writer’s Fun Zone, Deanna Jackson, who is stopping by to chat with us today about “Don’t Rush Your Writing.” Enjoy!
About 3 months ago I submitted my writing to a chapter contest for Romance Writers of America. I received the feedback a little over a month ago and am just now writing a post about it because I was too embarrassed to share before.
My erotic fiction novella had been read by a few beta readers and I was confident in my writing that I figured, “what the heck go for it.” I will say some of my beta readers were friends and family, so I should have known the feedback from them could have been biased. I did have one beta reader, a published author, who loved the story so I was feeling positive about further critiques.
I waited the few months in agony to hear back from the judges, whom were both published and unpublished authors. Within those months my novella had transformed into a completely new project. I started working with an editor and my once novella had turned into a novel. Paragraphs and chapters were deleted and new ones added. She had worked with one of the big five publishing companies and she chopped my story into pieces. She was tough but knew her stuff.
I had almost forgotten I submitted to the contest being so focused on reworking my novel. Although the format and plot structure of my book was completely different, the premise of my story was still the same so I was excited to see what they had to say. The happiness didn’t last long.
To sum up the five pages of critique, they said my writing was good but didn’t see how I could put it under the genre of erotic. My two main characters lacked spice in their relationship and didn’t seem to like each other. It was unbelievable that they would end up together. The contest required that only three chapters be sent and one note at the bottom said she would not be interested enough in the story to continue reading. That note stung.
When I was done reading it over, I wanted to cry and scream. Most of all, I wanted to quit writing. I figured if they hated it, everyone else will too. I went to my husband for the reassurance that I wasn’t a horrible writer. He looked at me and said, “You rushed. Its fine to be eager but your story wasn’t ready.” His words hit me hard but after thinking about it, he was right.
Instead of quitting writing, I double checked my work against the feedback and asked my editor more questions. I should have never RUSHED MY WRITING! It is great to be eager and want others to see your work but when it’s ready. I have read numerous articles that say the exact same thing I am but you should listen to them, unlike me. If not, be prepared.
You always here writers say rejection is part of this business but until I experienced it, I didn’t believe it. With all the praises I was receiving about my novella, I assumed I was the next J.K Rowling! NOT! Maybe someday but not without obstacles and hard work.
I am not saying that everyone will receive the same negativity and your work may not need as much editing as the next person. If you have even the slightest feeling that you may not be using commas in the correct place or the developments of your characters are lacking, seek an editor. It is going to cost but you won’t be sorry. If you spend the time to get your work proofread and edited, you will feel much more confident sending it into the world. The comments and critiques don’t sting as much, either. One of my beta readers has a degree in English and there were still parts he missed.
Once my editing was complete, I did query a few agents and received constructive criticism. I am no longer querying and re working a few things but I know that’s the smart thing to do this time and not rush. I want more than anything for my novel to be complete and published. I know now that if I am unsure of my work then agents and publishers will be too. There is no reason to rush because all agents and publishers will still be looking for great new talent next month!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I am an unpublished author working on my first romance novel. I have taken classes in creative writing and editing at the University of Cincinnati. When I am not writing, I enjoy snuggling on the couch with my husband and three fur puppies.