I submitted a short story to a competition in Writers’ Forum recently and got my critique back yesterday. It’s the first critique I’ve ever had and only the second competition I’ve entered – the first being in about 1985 with A Sunday Visitor. I didn’t win anything then and I haven’t so far now, but I do have something to go on to improve what I’ve written.
The feedback told me my dialogue is good and the tale is poignant with an uplifting ending. I was advised to write from the point of view of one character and everything, including the other character, should be seen through the main person’s eyes and observations as the head-hopping (writing from inside the head of both characters) can be a bit confusing. This will require an almost total re-write.
I have ideas of writing it twice, once for each character, to see what happens. The challenge will be to show the other character’s feelings and reactions from the observations of the main character. As the couple have been together for 45 years they will be familiar with each other to the point of knowing what the other is thinking and feeling – up to a point.
It’s quite encouraging that my writing is good and I found the feedback constructive. It’s giving me a number of ideas of how to approach it differently without detracting from the feel of it. The sparseness and empty spaces and silences is captured in just the way I imagined it and I think I can keep that in the re-writes.
I might leave it for a week or so before going back to the story so that I can look at it objectively. In the meantime I’d better write something else!