What Do You See?

ACFW Advice, Friends of ACFW, revisions, writing 4 Comments

By Loretta Eidson

Remember the old saying “there are two sides to every story”? It’s difficult to see reason or understand another point of view if the full picture isn’t clear.

Last Sunday my pastor gave this example during the sermon. He held the back side of his hand out toward the congregation and asked David, one of the church members, to come forward and examine it.

Pastor Derrick: “What do you see?”

David: “Skin.”

Pastor Derrick: “Yes, what else?”

David: “Knuckles.”

Pastor Derrick: “Hmm, nope.”

David with a confused look: “Fingernails.”

Pastor Derrick: “Not that I can see, try again.”

The conversation went a little further until Pastor Derrick turned to the congregation and explained. From the pastor’s view, he only saw flesh and lines in the palm of his hand, but David saw details quite differently. When they looked at the Pastor’s hand together, the two agreed they’d only considered one side, but clarification came when every angle of the hand came into view.

Try it. Hold a hand out and examine both sides. See the difference? Of course, you do.

Now, look at our writing.

Writing is fun, challenging, time-consuming, and personal. It’s our baby. We’ve worked hard on a plot and spent long hours building a protagonist and an antagonist. We write and rewrite sentences until they meet our satisfaction, only to delete them and start over.

At night, our thoughts don’t shut down. Creative ideas and descriptions of the next scene invade any possibility of sleep. We rush back to the keyboard in the middle of the night to make sure those perfect thoughts aren’t forgotten.

Once the manuscript or article is complete, the search begins for that perfect agent or editor. We hold our breath, and push the send key. Success.

Time passes while emails come and go, and impatience builds. Surely a contract will arrive soon, because our work is a masterpiece, right? The letter finally arrives. With high expectations, we read through the awaited response and our inflated egos fizzle. What went wrong?

We’d like to think our work is perfect at first try, but that isn’t always the case. Reading suggested critiques and deciphering how to edit the manuscript correctly is a step closer to reaching the desired outcome—publication. It’s a tedious process, but worth the effort.

While we see all the time that went into our work, others see only the finished product. We must be willing to look at every angle of the writing for publication process, and be open to suggestions. In other words, be willing to listen to instruction, abide by writing guidelines, and utilize every possible teaching tool. Be proactive in perfecting that work in progress and maintain a teachable attitude.

When the professionals see we’re willing to listen and make the appropriate changes, they’ll know we’re seeing both sides of the picture and a more favorable outcome is possible.

Loretta Eidson writes romantic suspense. She was a double finalist in the 2017 Daphne du Maurier contest, won second place in the 2017 Catherine, first place in her genre in the 2014 Novel Rocket Contest, a 2013 and 2015 semi-finalist in ACFW’s Genesis contest, and finalist in ACFW’s 2014 Genesis. Visit Loretta on her website, Facebook and Twitter.



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