My Nitzsche Moment

Isn’t it Nitzsche who said, “Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger?”

As I posted a couple weeks ago, I circulated the rough draft of my novel-in-progress among several friends and colleagues. The feedback that has been trickling back has been very enlightening, often useful, and will probably result in a much, much better book.

However–although most of the readers have overall liked my book and said they’d recommend such a book to friends–the feedback has also been extremely demoralizing and makes me want to crawl under a rock.

Everyone insists that I ditch the prologue, make a couple characters more obnoxious, and alter a particular detail. Add more action! More fun details about the planet. Make the robot even more menacing!

Okay, okay, I get it. If four people are telling me the same thing (so far), I guess I’d better take it seriously.

It’s going to take me a long time to fix all that, plus address various other issues brought up by my invited editors, reviewers, beta readers, whatever you want to call them. Plus, I still haven’t resolved the issue about whether to make the book accessible to a wider audience by limiting my use of Hebrew terms and explaining those used, etc.

I started working at the next draft, but had to stop when my computer died. This was probably a gift from Heaven. I think I need a little break. I was sitting in front of my computer, staring for a couple minutes at the screen, then begining to hyperventilate and twitch.

And I asked for it!

The craziest part is that I would ask for the experience again, because it’ll make me a better writer, and my book will certainly be improved. (Maybe I’ll even sell this one!)

A lot of writers disregard criticism of their “babies” because it’s so painful. But so is childbirth. Literary babies have to develop and grow just like our real children, and after their initial births, you have to spend even more time and effort “educating” them before they can go out and live on their own. Yes, occasionally someone will share an opinion that no one else shares, and you can ignore it. And, yes, criticism should be shared in a respectful way. But if several people who have opinions you trust tell you the same thing, you’d better take notice.

Even if it’s painful.

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