29/02/2012

A real critic

I wrote a short story over the weekend.
On Monday I gave it to the OH asking him to tell me what he suspected as he read it, and whether he was surprised by the denouement. His only comment when he gave it back was "Very good." Pressed further, he added "The man was a prat." True but not what I was after.
Next step - show it to M, my daughter and best critic.
She read it carefully and said halfway through the first page, "I think she's OCD."
I was afraid I'd overdone that sentence - made a note to change it.
Two pages later she guessed the outcome too soon.
A discussion ensued, during which it became clear that I had made my hints too subtle.One of my failings is to be so bound up in my story that I forget my reader is coming to it fresh, without my insight into the plot.
After a re-write, M's opinion was that I had succeeded in making my character sound more sinister, and the hints would now lead the reader up one or two blind alleys. Great - just what I'd been aiming for.
Sorted, sent off with fingers crossed.
Every writer should have a daughter like M.

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