Saturday, 6 August 2016

Is it Ok to Be Angry with Your Story?

    I have a confession to make.

    A couple months ago I finished the second draft of a YA Fantasy Romance called Draped in Deception. I thought the story was the bomb when I finished the draft, and that, sure, there might be a few things to fix up, but this was it. It felt like I had nailed the characters and plot. So I asked a very lovely person to read through it and let me know what they thought. 

   Here's my confession: I was looking for compliments, not feedback.


   So when this lovely person read it through and at first made comments on what they thought could be improved, I was like: "Yeah, alright. Just small things, right?"

   They got to the end. I was excited to read their reaction for days, practically buzzing. I wanted to hear how great my story was from someone else's lips.

   Reality hit.

   They liked it, but...

   There were big flaws, obvious ones that I brushed off in the editing while thinking: no one will notice them.They don't matter, not really.

   One of those flaws blew Draped in Deception out of the zone of realism for this lovely person. They told me this, straight and blunt but also with kindness, yet still the truth hit me like a punch to the gut.

This is what I wanted to do
   There were two thoughts that swarmed my mind:


Why didn't I edit that?

and

My story sucks
    
    Anger made me close my laptop and blame Draped in Deception. It didn't have a chance at being published anyway. The plot was horrible. All the characters were the same. It was trash, and I should never touch it again. 

    I wasn't ready or open to the feedback at that point, right as it was. It was said only to help me improve (which I now appreciate).

    But in my anger I turned to writing other stories, convinced they were better and deserved my time.

    It wasn't until I finished a first draft of another story, and a couple months later, that I found myself staring at the file in my list of documents. What would happen if I looked? Part of me was sure it was still a horrible mess of cliches, and the other wanted to see if there was anything left to salvage.

    I opened it.


    I started reading in a random place and a thought washed out all others for a single, wide-eyed second.

This is...ok. Maybe a little more than ok

    I realized that I was furious at my story because I had put it up high and expected everyone to turn a blind eye to its flaws instead of giving well-intended feedback. I'd reversed my perception of Draped in Deception from gold to trash, blaming it for all its faults.

   To be honest, I don't have any advice right now on how to conquer this; I'm still in that process. I'm still a little angry and confused on where to go with the story.

   But is it ok to be angry with your story?

   Maybe 'ok' isn't the right word for it. I think it's natural to be angry or frustrated with your story at some point. But I think we also need to believe in our stories, and keep fighting for it.

   That's now what I'm trying to do. 

Have you ever been angry with your story? How well do you respond to criticism or critiques? Also, I want to let you know that even if no one else believes in your stories, I believe in them, and in you. <3

8 comments:

  1. I feel you.. I was also looking for compliments, not feedback. And it hit me hard when they told me the flaw.. thank you for sharing :) now I know I am not alone :)

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    1. You're definitely not alone. :) It can be quite a shock when you look for compliments and get a critique in return. In the end, it's probably for the better. Thanks so much for commenting, Hana! :D

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  2. I know exactly what you mean by this! This happened to me with the first novel I ever wrote - I put it aside for a year or so, then eventually came back to it. Although I'm not in love with it - as the first novel I ever wrote, it obviously has tons of flaws + cliches and I'd never dream of trying to publish it - it did open the door to a lot of other stories that I probably wouldn't have thought of otherwise. I think it's okay to put aside your stories, but try to come back to them eventually!

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

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    1. Yeah, I agree with you Ellie. The way I put this story aside wasn't probably the healthiest way to though. XD I've revisited a lot of my even older stories lately, and though I doubt they'll get published, it's always nice to reconnect with old characters. Thank you for commenting! :)

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  3. I relate to this so much omg. *cries a little thinking of horrible past manuscripts* I think feedback is super hard to take and we writers deserve like A MILLION CAKES for attempting it!! And I do think stepping away from one's manuscript is actually the best thing you can do after getting feedback. :D It's rarely as bad as we think it is at the time hhaha. And like getting a TON of feedback at once is often overwhelming too, and makes the brain go into "nope nope nope" mode.
    But to answer your question: HECK YES I have wanted to quit writing forever after negative feedback.😂 It's a process and a journey, of course (although not sure it gets any easier?!) and I do think it's okay to hate/be angry/frustrated at your writing...so long as you don't let it turn you away, right?! Always come back and tackle the thing. ;D
    (Your posts are so relatable omg. And good luck with this story!)

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    1. Thanks so much Cait! :D Feedback is really hard to swallow, especially for me as I'm a perfectionist so I tend to get upset when things aren't 'perfect.' Yes a million cakes would be lovely!
      I'm not sure it will ever get easier. XD You're right, so long as we end up coming back to our writing it's ok. Storming off and eternally hating your writing isn't going to help you or the story improve. I will definitely try to tackle Draped in Deception. ;D Thank you for the encouragement, and for commenting!

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  4. I can totally relate to this, and I think it's definitely normal and natural to be angry with your story, especially if you don't get the feedback you want. I've been in that position where I've let someone read my work (namely my Creative Writing lecturer at university who was really blunt!), expecting praise and not quite getting the response I was hoping for and it does sting, and it did make me annoyed with my story because it clearly wasn't as good as I had thought. But then I worked on it and worked on it and it was so much better for it, so really I'm now grateful to that person and that story for helping me grow as a writer.
    Obviously your story has a lot of potential, so I really hope you stick with it. Best of luck editing and revising it! :)

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    1. Thanks Laura, I hope I can make it better. :) I think we all have this blind hope that maybe our stories are perfect and don't require any attention. XD Sadly that's not true, but it's probably for the best. Sometimes we need a little bluntness to help us improve. Thank you so much for commenting, and good luck with your own writing! :D

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