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  1. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    The silence

    Discussion in 'Editing' started by deadrats, Feb 19, 2019.

    So, I have this short story I've been working on and holding off on submitting in an effort to really make this one shine. Not too long ago I pulled this baby back up and went to town on it. I wrote it with my favorite publication in mind. It's a journal I've read regularly for years so I feel like I sort of get what they look for. I was finally feeling good about it. Almost ready to submit. I decided to send it to a few writer friends I know from my MFA days. We do occasionally show each other work but not first draft stuff. It's more like a final checkpoint for a piece we feel good about before it's out on submission.

    Now, I know people get busy and life happens. But I sent this story to a half a dozen friends and no one has gotten back to me. It's been a few weeks and these friends never take so long and have never not responded. But all I've got is silence. From all of them with the exception that they received it. One friend said she would get comments to me soon didn't say anything else about it. And I would say it's a little past soon. Did I mistakenly take this to be my best work? I sort of feel like no one wants to hurt my feelings or there's something like that going on. When I sent this story to friends I did mention that I thought it was some of my best work and I was excited to submit it. My friend group knows the pitfalls of submitting too early so we've kind of helped each other out where that's concerned. I'm feeling a little embarrassed by my story. I don't know how else to take the silence.

    I don't feel like it's worth pestering anyone over what just might be a bad story. I will have to wait some time before I can show them anything again since that's sort of how we operate anyway. I really thought this one was worth running by these friends. I'll be seeing a few of them next month. I'm kind of hoping no one even mentions my story at this point. I'm taking the group silence to mean my friends all had similar reactions and maybe didn't know how to tell me it just wasn't good.

    How do you take it when the response to your writing is met with silence? Ever fail to get a response from several beta readers/friends at the same time? At this point I'm not even sure the story is worth submitting. How could I have been so wrong? I've been wrong about my writing many times, but it's always a bit of a shock. It sucks to be wrong.
     
  2. Just a cookiemunster

    Just a cookiemunster Active Member

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    Honestly, I think they are just too busy or it could be that it's not the type of story they are into. That only happened to me once when I sent a story to a friend of mine, and just like your friends he never got back. He really was super busy but I later found out he wasn't interested in the sunject matter either. He thought it was too dark and depressing for his taste so he briefed over it pretty much. It was understandable because eveyone has different taste in books but I definitely prefer people just be honest early on when it comes to these kind of things so no ones time is wasted.

    In your case it's multiple people! I'm not sure how I would take that. o_O
     
  3. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Modern Dinosaur Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Do not think this is negative about your work, because I can almost certainly guarantee that it isn't. There are a number of reasons that this could be happening.

    1). People are just plain lazy when it come to things that don't directly effect themselves.

    Most people fall prey to this. They put it off until later because it involves quite a bit of effort and eventually it gets forgotten. You do need to give them a push or send them a "friendly" reminder to get off their ass. I've had massive essays for competitions that I asked friends and even family to help edit or give suggestions. They all vehemently said "Yes, of course!" and then after no responses came I realized that it was just going to be pulling teeth.

    2). It's difficult to edit because it actually is pretty good.

    You did say you thought it was your best work. It probably is. My dad actually did this to me once. I asked him to edit an essay for a competition related to his field. I wanted to make sure it made sense for what he knew. No response whatsoever. For weeks. He seemed to avoid it. Then when I pressured him he said he didn't really know how to edit it because it made sense to him and nothing seemed wrong with the science involved. I was naturally pissed. Such is life.

    3). They actually are busy.

    It happens. People get bogged down and when they need to relax, the last thing they want to do is more work. I understand. Working a full-time job, going to school full-time, and being a parent is taxing. Extra work just doesn't happen some times. Thus the reason for friendly reminders.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2019
    J.D. Ray likes this.
  4. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    My guess—and I could be totally wrong—is that this is the problem. It may be fabulous, but the above may have led your friends to hesitate about any criticism at all.

    My next guess is that this really is a coincidence where they’re all busy at roughly the same time.
     
    Shenanigator and deadrats like this.
  5. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I think you're right about your first assumption. I shouldn't have said anything about thinking it was my best work because clearly now I am really second guessing myself.
     
  6. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I know these people so I nudged. Got some responses back. Very mixed, encouraging almost opposite changes should be made. I didn't hear back from everyone, but I'm going to run with the feedback that I think makes the most sense and make those suggested changes. Silly me for thinking the piece was done. The revisions are necessary but also manageable. Now, to get to work on this. I'm glad I held out and didn't submit this story yet. It's going to have such a better chance when I'm really done with it. I think it's hard to see the finish line. Sometimes we think we've crossed it when there's still a ways to go. And other times we can just keep running and forget there's a time to stop.
     
    John Calligan and matwoolf like this.
  7. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Okay, the silence is over. I should have just taken a deep breathe and given it more time. However, I'm sort of glad I didn't get all this feedback at once or before I revised and submitted it. I think I was able to really improve my piece from the first set of comments I got. By the time I was done reading the last of the comments, I would have just felt completely overwhelmed and lost. This one was not everyone's favorite. Still, I feel good about it right now. I might have to rethink things, depending on how this story does on submission. I still think it's one of my best.
     
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  8. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter Contributor

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    The deafening silence I got when trying to get feedback from friends on my work was what drove me to join this forum. It was an excellent move on my part. For what it’s worth, we’re here for you.

    JD
     
  9. GrahamLewis

    GrahamLewis I started out younger in most everything. Contributor

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    Simple truth is, not everyone wants to read and critique a story. People have lives to live, and may well resent a "request" to take the time to deeply read and analyze a piece -- often when people want to read, it's to relax, and real critiquing is work. I agree with JD, this is the sort of place you should use, one where people want to critique.
     
    J.D. Ray likes this.
  10. paperbackwriter

    paperbackwriter Banned Contributor

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    I thought this thread was about Scorsese's The Silence.
     

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