Trial and Errors

A scathing but necessary critique.

Anthony D. Butler

4/21/20243 min read

Where do I begin? Well, I'll start by saying hello, everyone! I hope you are doing well at the time that you're reading this. How am I, you might ask? I've been better, that's for sure. Have you heard the old saying: Be careful what you wish for or you just might get it? That was me back in January when I sent the first chapter of The Raven Chronicles: Book 3 (still working on a title for it) for a contest. As part of the contest, win or lose, you receive a critique of your work.

Guess what I received this weekend? Yep! You guessed it, in all its beautiful and soul-destroying glory! Okay, soul-destroying might be going overboard just a bit, but I did kind of feel that way as I read each point laid out before me in great detail. I won’t go into any of it, but one saving grace for me is that it is my first draft, and some of their points I was already planning on correcting (or have already addressed).

I can tell you the Book 1 version of me might have crawled under a rock and died, or at least decided maybe writing is not for me. Book 3 version of me is a little more seasoned, and boasts a thicker skin (I’m pretty sure there’s a Hannibal Lecter joke just screaming to be let out here, but let’s push that back down for the time being).

Two great things I could take from the critique is that my main character is interesting, and her story, along with my world-building, has promise. Pretty much everything, though, needs major rework.

Now, if this post seems like I’m whining, I’m really not. I thanked them for their critique of my work, and told them I would take their words to heart, using the document as a tool to improve my writing even more. All of that is 100% true. I also told them the document I will submit next year will be much improved. That’s a promise more to myself than anyone else. I gave myself ten minutes to have a mini-meltdown before I re-read the critique and told myself all of that is fixable and re-workable.

Something else I’ve decided to do is to slow down. I see so many authors on social media putting out anywhere from two to five books a year (some even more). When you look closer at their work, its novellas, poetry, or just shorter novels overall. Also, several do this full time, whereas I have limited time to write. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I applaud every release they have, but I have a target from here on out of my books being around 350 pages, give or take. So pushing myself hard to pump out a book a year will lead to sloppy work. I’ve already seen it happen, unfortunately. That said, I’m going to make sure I don’t rush the editing process this time. If it takes ten re-edits, so be it. I think Book 3 will be a fantastic read once I’m finished, so I hope you all stick around for it.

Other than that, I had quite a weekend as I took part in the Grand Opening of a new bookstore, Hidden Pages, in Kimberly, ID. I look forward to taking part in more events they may have in the future. I also had the pleasure of meeting several local authors from this area, so that was a plus as well.

Guess that’s all I have for now. Thank you again for continuing on this journey with me. I’m really proud of The Raven Chronicles series and look forward to finishing Book 3. I know there’s at least a Book 4 in the future. After that, we’ll see.

I will leave you with this: There’s enough crazy reality in the world today. Read more fantasy and escape those problems for a while. It will help calm the soul and ease your mind for a bit.

Until next time…