John Corey Whaley is back and he's sharing his ongoing journey to publication. If you'd like to start at the beginning of Corey's story, check out his previous posts about writing his novel and his long search for representation.
Take it away, Corey!
Hello again WEbook,
I'd like to share share a bit more about what I learned during the writing process of Good God Bird. If I could provide other writers with just one bit of advice, it would be to seek constant feedback throughout the novel-writing process. During the two years that I worked on Good God Bird, I had a close friend (with fine-tuned editing skills and a penchant for good literature) review, critique, and provide notes on my working draft. Sometimes I would send her (Randi Anderson) a paragraph, and other times I would send her an entire chapter or two. Each time, I could expect well-thought notes and suggestions to come my way. This helped, early on, to clear up any confusion in my narrative and also gave me a great sounding board for working through new ideas.
Writing a novel is difficult, very difficult, but asking someone else to read it and honestly point out problems or errors is nearly impossible! But, it’s essential, I think. I learned how to take criticism constructively because I asked for help from a friend. Be careful, though, not all friends make good editors. (Tip: examine a friend or family member’s bookshelf before asking him/her for help). If Dr. Seuss, genius as he was, is the only author present in someone’s home, he or she may not be the greatest authority on the written word.
Because I was able to share ideas and work closely with someone who provided me with constant constructive criticism and feedback, I believe that the publication process over these next few months will be much easier for me to handle. Already, my agent and his staff sent me a considerable amount of suggestions (all changes were of my choosing, ultimately) and my previous experience with editing, re-writing, and sharing ideas helped to soften the blow. I was able to take a deep breath, read their notes, and venture back into the lives of characters that I hadn’t thought I’d ever meet again. I learned to look at the editing process as an adventure, wherein I get to discover new things about my characters and work to perfect their stories before the world meets them.
Please feel free to post any and all comments below, or via twitter @corey_whaley.