The Value of a Second Pair of Eyes

I recently completed my manuscript of The Rose Ring and sent it to my editor, who is also a very dear friend of mine. She told me she loved the story and I was very excited. It is always a bit scary for me to share something that I have written for the first time. There is always that fear that something I have worked so hard on for so long will be rejected.

She mentioned that she did make some comments on things and I told her that was great – after all, what is an editor for if not to make comments on your work? I eagerly dove in, ready to make whatever changes necessary to improve my book. Many of the things were easy fixes, but then I saw it – she had pointed out a flaw in a section that was truly the crux of the book. If that part didn’t work, the whole book didn’t work.

As embarrassing as it is to admit this, I was devastated. As far as I could see, there was no way to fix it. This story had been part of my life for three years, and it all was a waste. I tried to convince myself that in the big scheme of things, this was nothing. After all, there are far bigger issues in the world. There are far bigger issues in my own life. Still, I cried.

I didn’t know how I would keep writing. Could I have the courage to start over with another story, which would probably take me another three years? Could I chalk the whole thing up to a learning experience? I know many people have novels that never see the light of day. Apparently, I was going to be one of them. I tried to figure out how to word this on my blog, that a project I had been so excited about was now dead. How could I put a positive spin on that?

I told my husband of my sadness. In general, while we have a healthy respect for each other’s work, we don’t get overly involved. He doesn’t make any comments on my writing. I don’t practice law. He is, however, an avid reader, and in an act of desperation I asked him to read over a few chapters – the one that had the fatal flaw and the couple that showed how that one section was so important. He read them and within a few moments made a suggestion. It was simple and easy and perfect. Best of all, it only required adding a couple sentences.

I was ready to throw it all away and he was able to save it with only a few minutes of time. But, it took my swallowing my pride and asking for help. It also took a second pair of eyes. If you are having difficulty with something in your story, don’t hesitate to ask for help. I’m thankful to both my editor and my husband for helping me make The Rose Ring the best it could be.

I’m searching for people willing to read/review “The Rose Ring” – to find out more, please visit my blog: The Rose Ring is now available – Reviewers Wanted!

About AnneFaye

Anne Faye writes from Western Massachusetts and is the author of The Rose Ring and Through the Open Window, and blogs at http://www.annefaye.blogspot.com/. You can follow her on Twitter at @AnneMFaye
This entry was posted in Fiction, The Writing Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The Value of a Second Pair of Eyes

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this so sincerely and for encouraging others to ask for help when they hit a snag. Well said and so true!

  2. As a journalist I learned this early and try not to put anything out anywhere unless at least one person reads it, usually my husband. He is an engineer and I proof and edit his writings, which keeps me sharp. I would like to see CWG offer some suggestions on how to acquire a critique partner to trade manuscripts with for this purpose, or perhaps a pool. What do you think?

  3. Don Mulcare says:

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Carolyn Astfalk says:

    Nancy – I, too, would love some suggestions on finding a critique partner.

    This post really resonated with me today as I feel like I’ve put so much time into my novel. I said to my husband this morning, “What if it’s all a waste?” Meaning, what if it’s never read by anyone but me? It’s not like I don’t have a million other important things I could/should be doing.

  5. Leslie Lynch says:

    Oh, Anne, my heart broke for you – and then I read the rest of the post! I’m so glad it was an easy fix! It’s so difficult to see our own work through another’s eyes. I identify with your situation, because I’ve had comments from my critique partners, from contest judges, and once, from an agent, that all struck deep to the heart of my current story and made me doubt myself. (Or, unfortunately, dig my heels in and get stubborn! Either reaction is a manifestation of pride!) It took waaaaay longer than it should have, but each time I was eventually able to recognize the problem. Then, almost always, the fix was a minor rearranging of words or the addition of a couple of sentences. How exciting that you were able to get the help you needed to make The Rose Ring work!

  6. Johnny says:

    Thank you for this post! I know exactly how you feel. Writing can be such a dangerous process mentally, by thankfully the Lord will see us through eventually!

  7. Carolyn says:

    Nancy – I, too, could use some suggestions on finding a critique partner. I have attended a writers group in the past, but didn’t think the members were the right audience for my novels. I did have one person read it, but it took a very long time for her to get back to me. Of those I know that I think would enjoy the genre, they don’t have the writing/editing knowledge to offer helpful criticism.

    This post resonated with me since I just said to my husband yesterday, “What if this is a big waste of time?” After countless hours, I hate to think that my books may never see the light of day.

  8. Anne Faye says:

    Thank you all for your kind comments!

  9. Leslie Lynch says:

    Some suggestions for finding critique partners: Check around your local area for writers groups. Try libraries and universities. Look online for writing organizations in your genre, then see if there are any chapters in your area. Put your name and request out on the CWG forums and see what happens. If you are in a remote area, exchange work with another author online – and work very hard at communication, because online work without the benefit of face-to-face discussion can be a challenge.

    Once you find other writers (and they ARE out there), read my blog from May 22, 2012 for what to look for and how to structure a group.

    If anyone else has suggestions, toss them out there! This appears to be a common issue, at least for readers of this blog. Best of luck to all of you!

    Smiles,
    Leslie

    • Leslie Lynch says:

      Let me clarify the ‘blog’ comment. Check out my post on this blog (CWG) for May 22, 2012 for what to look for and how to structure a critique group.

      :-)
      Leslie