Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Beware The Critique (er)

Ah ha! I discovered something today. At the last critique session, one person said that my hero/heroine cried way too much. I hadn't thought so. I took the criticism to heart, but researched it. (you know I love research *g*)

'Blue' so far consists of a little over 46,000 words. I did a word search for 'wept' and found 6 out of the 46,000. I tried 'cried' and found 8 repetitions. Lastly, I did 'tear(s)' -- this one had 33 repetitions. I decided to find out what the percentage was. (As an aside -- There are three people in the book who weep. So I can take that into account. Also, my dragon weeps twice.)

Now I'm really really bad at math - so if I'm wrong about this, please let me know. Six and eight and thirty-three make forty-seven times I used words associated with weeping. (I know I didn't use the word weeping.) Forty-seven out of 46,000 words equals a 1% usage of a word associated with weeping. I don't consider that too bad of a thing. 

BUT - as all stats can be manipulated.... I will go back and see if the last few chapters have a plethora of these words. Perhaps that's what the critiquer meant. If there is a preponderance, I'll make changes. If not, I'll leave the tale the way it is. 

Since my tale is a fantasy of a world turned topsy-turvy, I have to make sure I put in references throughout the book of the changes that make this apparent. A critiquer suggested I don't do it enough. I find these criticisms almost always come in a chapter that has none, but the next chapter has many such references. I'll go back and peruse the tale for chapters that are consecutively deficient in these references.

My point though, is this -- trust yourself and your Muse. Because a critiquer 'feels' that you've missed an opportunity, doesn't necessarily make it so. 

Yet - and this is a big one - I have to put aside my pride and sense of ownership and at least research what the apparent cause of the criticism is. For my own sake. For the sake of continuity. For the sake of my readers. Changes might be needed; then again, they might not. But it's worth the effort.

Life is effort-ful.

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