1 Nov

I’m amazed by the number of brave writers out there. You might be one them if you’ve submitted a few pages of an unpublished MS to a contest like the one we’re currently running here at Passionate Reads.

It takes guts to slave over something by yourself for days, weeks, or months, and then send it spiraling out into the ether for the world to see.

While I’m a proud, published author–I write both romantica and academic nonfiction–it’s always a bit daunting to send off a new piece of work for review by an editor.

Hell, I get anxious when I send my sister a work-in-progress. I always lie and tell her that I want her honest opinion, but in reality I want her to tell me it’s the most fantastic, amazing, romantic, hot-and-sexy piece of word-smithing that she’s ever read.

Happily, my sister is no dummy and she generally obliges. She uses all kinds of lovely adjectives for at least five minutes while I ask leading questions. For example:

Me: So, did you like the scene where he sees her for the first time?

Fernie:* Oh, wow, yes. It was amazing! I don’t know how you do it.

Me: And did you like the sex scene?

Fernie: Hot, hot, hot!

Me: And the hero? What did you think about him?

Fernie: I would so not kick him out of bed! Talk about sexy times!

Me: You’re not just saying that, are you? I mean, you really did like it, right?

Fernie: Of course! I’m your sister. I would totally tell you if it sucked.

Me: Yeah, I know that. But still, I think it could use some work . . .

Fernie: Nah, it’s absolutely perfect as it is. You’re going to be sooo famous.

Me: Liar!

Fernie: No, really. It’s brilliant. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything that good before.

Me: Really? You’re not just saying that?

Fernie: Of course not!

Me: So you didn’t see anything that needs to be tweaked . . .

Fernie: Nope. Oh . . . never mind.

Me: What?

Fernie: It’s nothing . . .

Me: You think something needs to be changed.

Fernie: Not really . . .

Me: Tell me!

Fernie: Well, maybe just a little thing . . . No, on second thought, it’s too minor to worry about.


Fernie: Well . . .

Me: If you don’t tell me, I’ll tell Mom about that time you stole my birthday money.

Fernie: I did not steal your birthday money.

Me: Did too. Thief. Now tell me!

Fernie: Fine! Since you’re being a biddy. You know that part where they’re talking the bar? There are a couple of sentences where . . .

Me: I’m opening the file right now. Tell me exactly the part you’re talking about.

Fernie: Okay, but it’s really minor. It’s probably just me. I’m sure it’s fine.

Me: I’m there. Tell me or I’m calling mom.

Fernie: Mom would so not believe you.

Me: Yes, she would. I’d pretend like I was crying.

Fernie: I hate you!

Me: La la la I can’t hear you la la la.

Fernie: Fine! I’ll tell you. But only if you’re sure. It’s so good that I don’t think there’s anything you can do to improve it . . .

Me: Shut up and tell me!

See? My sister Fernie, who is in person sort of a basher–by which I mean if there is something around to break, she will break it–has the delicacy and tact of a top-flight diplomat when it comes to tiptoeing around the sensibilities of her writing sister.

May all of you brave writers be blessed with a similarly sensitive critique partner.

*Name changed to irritating childhood nickname to protect the innocent.

3 Responses to “Exposure”

  1. madryy November 1, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    I liked the ‘sex’ category. Powerful singularity. And your sister is nice.

    • Erica Anderson November 1, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

      She is nice. But don’t tell her I said so. : )

  2. madryy November 1, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    I liked the ‘sex’ category. Powerful singularity. And your sister is nice.

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