This question is aimed at all of my fellow writer friends out there…
I’ve been working on the second draft of my new book–The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer—preparing it to send off to the editor. I’m at the stage where I’m reading over it myself, trying to find the sentences that sound odd, overly wordy, or poorly constructed.
As I’m reading over it, I find myself being super critical of the writing. I see mistakes EVERYWHERE, but when I read other books, I find that many authors use what I consider to be mistakes.
I’m currently reading through three books right now:
- Star Wars books by Timothy Zahn
- The Last Stormlord series by Glenda Larke
- Riyria by Michael Sullivan
All of these books have the same things that I’ve been told are mistakes, such as adverbs (-ly words), passive tenses (“was”), and so on. Their sentence structure is sometimes odd, with phrasing that I would ruthlessly eliminate from my own work.
So is mine as good as theirs? Am I being too hypercritical of my own work?
I think that this is something that most authors face: reading their own work, comparing it to other authors, and feeling like theirs isn’t good enough. I think it’s inherent human nature to find flaws in what we excel at, but how do we reconcile ourselves with never being perfect or writing perfectly?
Should I be content just to publish the work knowing that the story itself is good, even if the writing isn’t perfect in every way?
Here’s another thought: are all of those “flaws” in my writing really flaws, or are they just my picky nature showing through?
Like I said, the books I listed above use many of the things that I’ve been told are “mistakes”, and they are best-selling or award-winning books. Am I being too critical of my own work? Will readers actually go through my book and say, “Oh, writing mistake right there!” or will they just read it and enjoy it? When do we cross the line from editing into being too darn picky?
Any advice or feedback you have on this one, PLEASE comment? Any published authors out there, I’d love to hear what you have to say about how you can feel your work is good enough. Thanks!