I'd mailed my critical thesis--all 35 pages of it--ten days ago. The insecure part of me was really ready to hear if it made sense, if the ideas were good, how much more work I'd have to do in order to produce an original thesis on the role a setting can play within middle grade fiction. The Type A part of me wanted to hear my work was on a "this will be great" path...hard to admit, but I have that tendency.
My critique finally arrived at 7 tonight. Here's how it started:
Okay, so now I have the entire rough draft in front of me. The good news is the overall shape is there. Structurally it's pretty sound. I found as I read through this twice over vacation that my focus for revision is more so on a line basis, as it will be with the next packet in which I line edit the hardcopy from start to finish.
Really? The overall shape? Really??? It's pretty sound??? I have to say that I had a hard time translating pretty sound. When I emailed him and asked about how to interpret that phrase, he responded that "pretty sound" is actually high phrase. I guess I missed that translation on the first go-round.
He sent 21 pages with sentence suggestions and tweaks. Every once in a while, I got a solid or a good. Once or twice there might have been a great. Does it sound super insecure to admit how much those tidbits of compliments meant to me?
I believe in myself as a writer. I really do know that my paper is okay. Maybe even more than pretty sound. That being said, mental note to self: writers need compliments. We need reactions. We need to know when our writing resonates, whether we are five, fifty, or a hundred.
Today I will comment on writing. I will also teach students, conferring and talking to them about their works in progress. I will not say anything is pretty sound. That's pretty--I don't know--pretty something.