Mission: Fear #3, submit a writing sample for Jerry B. Jenkins to critique.
Before the webinar, each participant is emailed the unedited writing samples going to be critiqued. Let me tell you, I looked at them with whole new eyes. Normally I would just casually peruse them to see what they were about. This time, I studied them. A sample of my thoughts? Shoot! Sample one is really good.
Instead of the planned four, there were five samples to be critiqued, and I tried to make up my mind about whether that was good or not. He wouldn’t have as much time to spend on mine since it was at the very end, but-yeah, never mind. It was definitely good.
It was when he got to sample number three that I started biting my fingernails a little. Four had me bracing. By the time he came to mine, I had perfect posture. He started out by saying my formatting was wrong, and from there a blaze of red corrections followed.
Most of my predictions were right. He edited a lot, scrapped a lot, and did point out some embarrassing inconsistencies. I learned my use of ellipses (…) was wrong, that I need to think through every action my characters make along with what the natural outcome would be, and just generally learned a lot. I figuratively slapped myself on the forehead more than once, and felt my face get a little warmer than usual. (I love modern technology. Nobody to see me blush!)
But he also had a few compliments to give me. I was writing about an abusive relationship, and at one part he said: “Now, this is really good, because these are the things an abused woman would say.” And, “This is really good dialogue.” When I ended my sample with “then it struck her,” he said: “It would be interesting to see what struck her.” Yay! At least I kind of had the reader hooked at the end.
All-in-all, mine was probably one of the weaker samples. I found I am more of a beginning writer than I originally thought, and I’m surprisingly okay with that. Honestly, I needed to be reminded. I needed to be reminded so that I keep working and don’t just settle for second best. To be reminded that I still have things to learn and places to go.
I prayed God would give me the right attitude after the critique so I didn’t leave it defeated, and he totally answered that prayer. I am so excited about going forward, and very grateful for Jerry B. Jenkins. He was gentlemanly and straight forward in all he did, and I have even more respect for him. He didn’t have to be there drudging through writing he is way beyond helping novice writers like me, but he was. To have one of the biggest names in Christian books showing me how to improve is such a privilege. God bless him and his direct ways!
Instead of being discouraged, I am motivated more than ever. I will learn all I can and work as hard as I can until I measure up to the best of them. I may have a lot to learn, but I’m ready.
Deadlines, ellipses, critics, and needless words? Bring it on.