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.
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|
Why didn't I edit that?
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