The critiques were pretty painless last night. I made a “joke” about being nervous to our leader and so she “let me off the hook” early by making me first. I’m actually grateful for that. I was able to get it out of the way and relax about it the rest of the night.
I wasn’t bothered by any of what they said, in fact I anticipated some of it. There are some areas in The Teacher that are entirely too detailed and serve no purpose for the story. What I now have to decide is whether to cut them down, or to make them serve a purpose. While I personally kind of like some of the details, there was a consensus among the group that a few specific areas needed to be “condensed” and what the leader told us the first night was, “take what you want and ignore what you don’t, but if there’s some consistency in a particular area, you should probably revisit it,” so I guess I will.
A lot of the other comments were about wanting to know more about certain things that are actually already addressed in other areas of the book. That’s one of the downfalls in the way this works. I get to submit 25 double spaced pages, three separate times. They do not have to be the same pages, so I can have up to 75 pages critiqued. But the first draft of The Teacher is 418 pages. You can’t expect to know everything about the story and the characters and their backgrounds in 25 or even 75 pages of a 400 page novel.
So all in all, I feel pretty good about the feedback. I agree with a lot of the comments that require changes and feel good about what I covered in other places that they asked for. While I may not be as close to Book-Deal ready as I had thought/hoped, I do feel good about what I’ve done and what I can do to improve it.
So… full speed ahead!