Recently, I joined a critique group that is a little more experienced–okay, a lot more experienced–then the critique groups I’ve been in before. This past month was my turn, and I was so excited to receive their feedback. Boy, was I in for a surprise! (No, really it was okay.)
I started writing Dividing Spirits approximately 2 years ago. It took me a little longer to write than I planned due to a rough pregnancy and an overseas move, but at last it was done. I had a handful of “beta readers” go over it and got some great responses and a few minor issues that were easily fixed.
In September, I went to the American Christian Ficiton Writer’s conference in St. Louis, (I had a great time!) where I pitched the novel to a couple of agents and an editor. Again, I got some favorable responses–two requests for fulls. I immediately did a last read through and then sent Dividing Spirits out. A couple of weeks later, I got my first response.
Now, she was nice enough in the rejection, and in fact, didn’t say it sucked. She informed me that the story was too “black and white” for her tastes, and that stories like mine needed more “gray area”. Okay, I could see where she was coming from.
I got my responses back from my critique group.
I won’t go into details, but I will say this: I love my new critique group, and I am now in for one crazy rewrite.
I had no clue what I was missing with my other critique groups–but these ladies are phenomenal!
All of this to say TWO things:
1. Just when you think you’re done, well, you might not be.
2. When you reach the point of seeking out a critique group, make sure they are people who will challenge you, people who will not let you get away with anything–lazy writing, poor research, whatever the case may be.
Since I’ve received the most recent feedback, I’ve been praying and replotting Dividing Spirits. It’s in for a major rewrite which will resemble the original in very few ways…except for how it ends–maybe. I must say, though the feedback kind of shocked me in many ways, it also inspired me as to how I can improve my story in more ways then I could imagine.
Yeah, Dividing Spirits is a good story, it’s a good read that many have enjoyed, but you know what? Now, it’s going to be great! And great is what the publishing world is looking for.