Thursday, October 22, 2009

Writing a Novel Isn't Rocket Science, Or Is It?

A couple weeks ago, after I posted about completing the latest draft of Noah Zarc, I received a comment on the post from Susan Quinn, a real life rocket scientist. She offered to read through the latest draft and give me some feedback. I of course jumped all over it and sent the manuscript off to her. A short time later she returned the document with an exceptional, well thought out, critique. The most exciting part, in my opinion, were the five "Tech Issues" that she wrote detailed remarks about. Informing me, from a scientific standpoint, where my technology was a little off the mark. Did you know that there is no "escape velocity" if you are simply trying to leave the earth? As long as you are not trying to enter orbit around the earth, you can go at pretty much any speed you are able to maintain. Duh! Susan also had wonderful ideas to improve several other areas of the story, and character development as well. So, Susan a big ol' thank you for your help.

For anyone else out there in the final stages of writing or editing a novel, I cannot say enough about the importance of finding another pair of eyes, or better yet multiple pairs of eyes, to take a look at your manuscript. Look for people who can be honest, detailed, and relentless. This isn't a popularity contest. You don't want people to fawn all over your work. You need critiquers who aren't afraid to tell you like it is. Aren't afraid to tell you to "kill your darlings". If you can find someone like that, and they also point out areas they like, how much more are you going to believe them? My wife is my biggest critic, but I can tell you when she says she likes something, that is huge. Because I know she is not just trying to make me feel all warm and fuzzy, she genuinely means it.

So get your story out there. Let the wolves tear it to pieces. Then put it back together better, and stronger than ever before.


Susan Quinn said...

Please don't kill the darlings! They're . . . darling. Especially Noah. :)

Thanks for the compliments, and I second what you've said - we all need some independent eyes on our work.

BTW, I've started a blog, too! It's about finding good children's books for advanced readers ages 8-12:

D. Robert Pease said...

I did discover you were writing a blog. (I linked it in my post) I tried to comment on your Artemis Fowl post a few minutes ago, but I'm not sure it went through. Nothing seemed to happen.

Susan Quinn said...

Thanks for the link! I'm still getting mine up-n-going but I'll put your blog link up there when I get the links section up.

I tried the comments on my blog - at first it gave me fits, now it seems to be working. Not sure what the Blogger Hiccup was there.

Susan Quinn said...

Hi! How's NaNoWriMo going? I'm sharing the blogger love today and gave you an award. Sorry for the pinkiness. Couldn't figure out how to change the colors. :)

Uma said...

wow, I did NOT know that about escape velocity!