My husband, Dan, is my best and worst critic. He’s ruthlessly honest when I ask for feedback on my writing, which can be hard for my ego at times, but he’s also right most (not all!!) of the time and always thoughtful and fair.
We often have disagreements about structure (he hates flashbacks) but I stick to my guns when I know it’s the right choice for the story.
I take more to heart his thoughts on specific language and “feel” of the story or novel.
A few days ago, I let him read the first part of my novel Summer in Samoa and asked for his overall thoughts. His response was that the story didn’t get interesting until around page 10.
Ouch. But he was right.
The first ten pages were mostly furniture moving (a phrase from my mentor Lewis Buzbee), introducing the characters one by one, showing exactly what was happening.
Bascially, the problem was I started at the beginning. How boring.
So I did what I had to do. I cut the first ten pages and am starting to rewrite, from scratch, only the intersting parts.
They landed on the island at dusk on the last Friday in June. Maggie hung back as the others fought to be first of their group off the plane.
The man who met us at the airport wasn’t Samoan at all. He was white and he was grinning.
Nineteen words down, only 60,000+ to go!