The stories have been exchanged today. I’m going to give myself a few days to look at it, not just read Aaron’s once, make some edits, and send it back.
Which made me wonder about editing. When I edit my own writing, nearly all I do is come up with better/more interesting ways to say things while getting rid of grammatical errors where I can. But is that really editing? I seem to make the assumption that what I’ve written is exactly the CONTENT I want, and I just make sure it’s presented in the best way. Well, that may not be smart editing, that’s really just proofreading.
With the short time constraints of this project, it may be all I can afford, but really I want to try to use the editing process to make a better STORY, not just make better what I wrote – see the difference? That’s what I’m going to try to do when critiquing Aaron’s work. Sure, I’ll be looking to fix every your/you’re in the story and all the grammatical errors, but that’s just being a proofreader. I want to look at his story and see if there are ways he can tell a STORY better (in my opinion). As I hope he does with mine.
It’s also a time to eat humble pie. I reread my story a few times, and think it’s damn good. I like the turns it takes, I like the characters, and it has just enough levity to keep it from being a real downer of a story. But what if he does shred it? What if he spots the twists a mile away? As someone who has ALWAYS welcomed criticism, I have a peculiar way of responding to it. Initially, I will reject it or defend what I’ve done to the ends of the earth. Only after that person walks away (shaking their head that I was being stubborn) will I sit back and, more often than not, listen to the criticism and use it to tweak the story. I never like being wrong, but usually end up admitting that I was. Except for the scene in the blackout in Unusual Suspects – all you haters keep hating, that’s staying in forever.
On Thursday I’ll talk about my story a bit, or maybe Aaron’s. Who knows?