A critter in her habitat

A critter in her habitat

The article that led me to this whole getting-up-early thing suggests changing your schedule incrementally, going to bed and getting up a few minutes earlier, getting used to that, and then edging it back a little further.  In this spirit I got up at 5:45 a.m. this morning.  I am surprised at my success thus far.

It also recommended putting the alarm clock on the other side of the room.  That has made all the difference.

This morning has been spent working on an overdue crit for a friend.  Reading each other's work is an interesting challenge, because neither of us typically read the genre that the other writes in.  The story I'm reading is a mystery in first person, with a narrator who has a very hard-boiled voice.  I don't really know what one can and can't get away with in that form, so I'm afraid I'm going to give bad advice.  But we've all received crits where we knew the critiquer was simply wrong — well-intentioned, but wrong.  I'm sure he'll weigh his own expertise in his genre against my notes.

The FM folks (Clam and Camilla especially) might remember a crit I had a couple of years ago that resulted in the most painful edit of my life.  It was a fantasy short story about a dryad.  The guy led with “When I read the first paragraph and it was set in a baroque setting I thought it was going to be about vampires.”  Three pages later he added, “I still want vampires.”  This should have tipped me off that this was not the guy to listen to.  But the carrot in front of me was that he was friends with an agent I particularly liked, and he said that if I made these changes he would make sure it ended up on the agent's desk.  So I tried to shoehorn his suggestions in.  

That guy may have been a great critter of another type of fiction, but he didn't read spec fic (and said so.)  His exposure was limited to Anne Rice.  When I didn't produce that, he wanted me to write a different story.  

I went to Forward Motion, kicked, screamed, snippeted bits into chat where he wanted something that I just couldn't choke down.  Usually the FM folks were on my side.

Never again.  I had to undo almost everything I did in that edit, because the guy was just plain wrong.  Now when I get a comment that I strongly disagree with, first I check my ego to make sure that it's not just resistance to being told that I'm wrong.  If, after that, the gut still says 'no,' I listen.

By contrast, though, Mike V. (whose story I'm reading now) is not a sci-fi reader, and because of that he was able to point out some very serious flaws in one of my stories, flaws that all of the spec fic readers I've shown it to have blown right past.

Time to get everyone up.  Have a great day, all. 

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