Can you read my 400 page children's book?

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by Tim Burdick on 25 October, 2015

Hemingway: My opinion is that I hate it.

Gil: You haven’t even read it yet.

Hemingway: If it’s bad because I hate bad writing. If it’s good I’ll be envious and I’ll hate it all the more. You don’t want the opinion of another writer.

This scene from Midnight in Paris hit me. One type of criticism about writer’s groups is that writers will only tell you how they would write their version of your story.

To some extent, I agree and disagree with this criticism. My group tells their opinion on what they liked and didn’t. Those several fresh sets of eyes have fixed dodgy syntax or clarified character motivation which I would never have found on my own. On the other hand, I have had people comment that they liked the story without further constructive criticism. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that they liked the story but I want to improve it.

But, with my next story, I‘m going to try to have parents and their children read it before the writers. Did they get it? Was it funny? What did they understand? After I collect all their comments, I will ponder any feedback and do a rewrite.

Then, I‘ll let my writer group take another pass at it. As the writer, I will either accept or reject their comments. Polish. Write. Edit. Re-write. Edit until my editor gets it for a final read through.

This is when the submission fun begins.

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