Archive for May, 2017

When a Critique is Better Than Flowers

By Kathy NickersonMay 14th, 2017happy endings, Marriage4 Comments

This Guy. You might think, Dear Reader, that after forty-three years, we have one another figured out. Or that our life of working together every day and then coming home together every night to a simple routine would get boring.

You. Would Be. Wrong.

Yesterday, for example, I thought I was just a few hours away from sending my next novel off to a potential agent. It had been been through all the proper readers and edits. It just needed one, final polish.

But, my husband, Wendell, hadn’t read it yet. I asked him if he would take a look at the manuscript, specifically to make sure I hadn’t made the husband look too bad in the story. I even offered to give him a synopsis and point out the passages I wanted his opinion on so he didn’t have to read the whole thing. It is women’s fiction, after all. Not his normal genre.

Instead, he devoted himself to the manuscript. I heard him belly laugh several times. I may have seen tears. And, at the end, he nodded and said, “You did it.”

We were on the way to our daughter’s house for supper when he said, “You know, I’m not sure first-time readers jumping into this third book will really get the back story of the Glory Circle Sisters. You did a great job with Elmer and Catherine. But I’m not sure they will get Bess.You might want to go back and draw the ladies out a little better. ”

“Oh, that’s a good point. I can do that.”

He drove another quarter mile and said, “And in the chapter where Jack’s assistant kind of dissapears off the scene for a while, where did she go? I kept wondering about that. I think readers will wonder. You might want to tweak that.”

For the next forty-five minutes, Wendell drove and critiqued my masterpiece while I took notes. In case you think that hurt my feelings or made me feel discouraged, you would be wrong again, Dear Reader. I loved it.

Wendell’s insight was excellent, and his questions were helpful. If he got pulled out of the story because he wondered where Paige had disappeared to in Chapter Twenty-five, so will you. I’m going to fix that before you read it.

I think this is a beautiful example of the best part of marriage. Wendell could have left it alone. He could have signed off on the good-enough version of the novel and let someone down the editorial road bring up the issues.

But, he knew I could do better, and he knew how to help me get there.

I pray you have a person like that in your life, Dear Reader. If you don’t, I pray you set out to find one. Or to become one.

Blessings on your search.

 

 

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