How do you fix what you didn't know was broken? Sure, other people can point out it's broken, but until you see it for yourself, you still don't believe it.
Case in point...
I took some interesting criticism during my Secret Agent Contest entry last week. For now, we'll dismiss the obviously out there and address the two key points that seemed to be a running theme.
Point 1) From the first 250 words, it sounds like YA.
I don't see it. Sure, it starts on Jo's 18th birthday and she's a little immature (naturally), but this is the key focal point upon which rests the book - and the whole series if the other books ever see the light of day. For me, the reader needs to see where she was to understand where's she's gotten and why she reacts the way she does to the events that unfold.
Point 2) I started in the wrong place.
This one, I can kinda see. I'm notorious for starting in the wrong place anyway, so it's not surprising that I get this criticism again. How do you know what the right place is? I'm damned if I know because I've actually started this book in several different places and this one feels the most right.
Of course, it could be that I just need to shuffle a few things around in those 250 words to make it have more impact. Which I will look into. But ugh, I hate the thought of touching this manuscript again. If I had a nickle for every word I've rewritten on this thing, I could afford to self-publish. LOL
Of course, of course, it also could be that it's fine and those critters just needed to keep reading to see how awesome the beginning was.
But I doubt that's the case.
What about you? How good are you at recognizing when something is broken? When someone else points it out, are you all like 'well, duh, why didn't I see that' or are you more like 'what are you talking about... there's nothing wrong there.'?
And in case you missed it, Silver James wrote an awesome post over at The Unpublished Writers' Guide to Survival yesterday. Go forth and read - after you comment here, of course.