I'll Get By With a Little Help from My Friends
The best coaches have the knack for demanding more from their athletes thantheir athletes are capable of demanding from themselves. They use all sorts of different methods, and sometimes they truly get under the skin of thosethey are supposedly helping. No matter their techniques, if their underlying goal is to push their athlete to deliver their max, the results can be astounding.
The first few times I experienced a critique I had a hard time with the intense comments, but nowadays I live for them. Whether I've represented a character in a way that leads the reader to misunderstand who they are, or I suffered from a brain cramp and left a gaping hole in my logic, I need to know about it.
Of course I love to see positive notations in a crit, but it is the negative stuff that I thrive on. In rewrites I want to seek and destroy the flaws. Do I wish my first draft could be perfect? Of course. But I now understand that I'll never come close that early in the game, so the next best thing is to have people whose opinions I trust that are willing to tell me precisely what they think of my work, as if I wasn't there. That's a whole lot better than having an agent round-file a manuscript, or a reviewer slam my book for errors that should never have sneaked through in the first place.
There is no doubt whatsoever that, no matter what flaws still remain, TheRace is a far better book than I ever could have written on my own. I get e-mails complimenting the story regularly. I thank my lucky stars that none of these readers ever got to see my initial attempt. I can't believe my good fortune to be a part of the critique group I belong to. Formerly called NovelDoc it has recently morphed into NovelPros. J. R. Lankford is the founder and owner.
I learn, day by day, that breaking through as a novelist is a far more difficult task than I ever dreamed it would be eleven long years ago when I made up my mind to do it. Whether I succeed in my goal or not, I know that eventually NovelDoc/NovelPros is going to have a lasting impact on the world of literature and I am proud to have been a part.