What Not to Do Wednesday on Fixin’ It (and The Rule of Three)

Here’s my Libra horoscope for the day (not that I’m a huge believer in such but there are the occasional moments when I wonder…)

“You don’t seek knowledge just so you’ll be smarter than the next guy. You learn because it’s fun and often quite profitable for you to do so. Your education will reflect your lightness of heart.”

Honestly, grasshopper, that made me feel a little tingly when I read it this morning. I mean, it could’ve been the first cup of caffeine jolting through my system, but I’m going to go with the cosmic coincidence. Because today, I was planning to discuss my Rule of Three of critique.

You see, I’m working on some revisions right now with a manuscript. Which sounds very civilized and simple. Perhaps I should have written it like this: I’m working on some %^&^%$%^^revisions RIGHT NOW with a %^&^%manuscript. 

Ahem. I received some excellent critique from a writer friend and now, I have some serious fixin’ to do, starting with the opening and ending with, well, the ending. That’s A LOT of revision, grasshopper. And oh, how I have resisted it. But the Rule of Three came into play, and so now I must get ‘er done.

So I should probably explain the Rule of Three when it comes to critique. If I get the same critique, three times, from three different writers, I undig my heels and make the changes. Sometimes, I only need one critique to make a change, especially if it’s one of those problems that another writer points out and I slap my head and say, “(whack) How did I miss that?” But if it’s a part of the story that I really, really love, I mean the kind of words that make me pat myself on the back and say, “(Pat, pat) You really are brilliant, aren’t you?” I do NOT want to mess with ’em.

The Rule of  Three kicks me in the metaphorical butt and says, “Why ask for help if you’re not going to learn from it?” So, dear grasshopper, don’t just nod your head and say, “(Smile) Thanks” when you keep getting the same critique. Take it from someone who’s resisted with every fiber of her being until finally, squashed and wore out, she fixes it.

Because ultimately, I want to be a profitable writer as well as a good one. That fun part of learning, and lightness of heart? Maybe that comes eventually. I’ll let you know.

11 thoughts on “What Not to Do Wednesday on Fixin’ It (and The Rule of Three)

  1. Ending? You mean my novel needs an ending? Cause right now all I have are about a thousand pretty colored index cards all over my dining room table, ending in one white one with a big question mark – the ending! @#!?@#! is right! 🙂

    I agree about the whole consensus thing – if more than one person tells you the scene doesn’t work, the character is boring, etc. it’s a pretty safe bet it needs work.

    • Endings and beginnings, Madeline. I bet I spend more time on those two parts than the whole middle all together.

      But when you get it right, it’s SO worth it. (Good luck with yours!)

  2. That’s a very healthy attitude to take…because readers can be a tricky bunch. Your Rule of Three is a great way to approach things because, inevitably,there is always one thing that someone loves that the next guy hates. It’s always a crap-shoot to get a critique…which is just another one of THOSE THINGS no one tells you when you begin your writing journey :D. If only it were as easy as Lewis Carroll makes it seem: “Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop.”

  3. I’m the same way about critiques. If I get the same feedback more than once, I will very seriously consider revising. If it’s one person’s opinion, I’ll go with my gut on it.

  4. It stinks to have to change those things we’re really in love with, but if I know you, it will come out even more scathingly brilliant the second time around (or the 138th time). Looking forward to celebrating your success soon!

    • I’m not sure if it’s possible to be scathingly brilliant after 138 rewrites. But Lord knows, I’m trying, Deb. 🙂

      (Thanks for the vote of confidence–may we all celebrate success soon!)

  5. The writing rocks, the editing . . . er, not so much. *sigh* The rule of three is a good one and I’ve had to apply it to my writing many times, as you know. Working on “Sequins” now and feeling very much at sea. It all made such perfectly good sense when I wrote it! What happened? It seems overwhelming at the moment, but I know it will come together. The beginning chapters will benefit from the wonderful critiques I have, in triplet, from the Inklets. You’ll be subjected to other revisions soon. 🙂 Off to work on the #$%#*^&#$%#& thing!

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