I have decided to commence a massive rewrite of Ashford as a summer project, so this morning I tore quite ruthlessly into chapter one. I think I've had the necessary distance from it to look at the thing a little more objectively now, so we'll see how it goes. I am not, however, finding it any easier to cope with scathing critiques, particularly when they contradict each other. And not, I don't think, because I can't accept criticism. I've had critiques before from people who didn't like everything about the manuscript, who thought this or that could stand to be changed, improved, or simply taken out, but last week brought two reviews from separate individuals, both of whom clearly (and rather nastily) had very poor opinions of just about every aspect of my writing. One claimed I didn't describe things enough. The other insisted that I spent far too much time on the descriptions, even going so far as to say, quite spitefully, "it's no wonder the description is good, considering how much time is spent on it."
I am trying to take these conflicting opinions as gracefully as possible without letting them discourage me. After all, a good friend, (who has, by the way, great taste in literature in general) read it through, then started again, reading it aloud to her younger sister, who then had to read it a second time herself. Surely if she'd been thinking only of not hurting my feelings she wouldn't have felt the need to be quite so enthusiastic. They are both in love with Perry now. Not that I blame them. I'm quite fond of him myself.
So I'm going back to the beginning and scrutinizing every sentence, determined to weed out cliches and unnecessary adjectives, knowing that I won't please everyone, but doing my best to please those whose opinion is most important: the would-be reader whose vision sees what I have feebly tried to show.
It's been a chilly wet day, but I'm cozy inside, wrapped in a blanket, listening to the combined sounds of rain on the roof and Aaron practicing for his album release party. He recently completed his first album, and we're hoping to schedule a release soon.