Happy New Year to everyone.Even though we're a few days into the new year, I decided to wait until now to put up my first post of the year. I decided to change how the Muse looks just because I felt like switching to something new. I also decided to make my post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group the one that starts this year off.
I recently got the last critique from my critique partners and although it was really great stuff, it was also a little bit of a punch in the gut. If that critique partner is reading this, understand that it's not your fault at all. You did a wonderful thing for me and now that I've had a moment to absorb everything, I completely understand the why's and how's. It's a great critique and will be very useful. But on first read, I do admit that I felt...not as good about my writing as I usually do.
There was one thing the critique partner said though that turned on a light bulb. I have a habit in my writing of coming up with a central idea for a story and then trying to reveal that idea slowly. I withhold little bits here and there, and I guess I'm trying to keep things mysterious. What it ends up being is an artificial curtain that I intend to whip aside in some kind of "Ta-da" moment.
After I thought through what the person was getting at with their comments (and got over the idea that I am a terrible writer who needs tons of help), I realized that I have been trying to hide the idea until the <em>right</em> moment when what I really should be doing is tossing the central idea out there and writing that idea's story. I need to just draw my reader in, put a spotlight on my characters, and tell the story. No curtain, no artificiality, just a good yarn for them to enjoy.
A critique where I learn something really solid about my writing is a great way to start the year. It does mean I have to change how I think a little bit, change how I write. But that's a constant process for all writers, so it's not a bad thing. In the end, I'm ready for a better year than the last, and hopefully I will somehow finish one of these WiPs.
Has anyone else had some cool epiphanies as the new year begins? Tell me all about it.