After a year and a half of relative diligence, I have submitted my final project for review. If it is approved, I will soon have earned a Master’s degree in Holy Names University’s writing program. Hot diggity!
I can’t get over the relief!
Nonetheless, I plan to continue developing this writing to see if I can get some or all of it published. Because the last thing I want to do is send my fledgling literary endeavor into the world before it’s ready for objective review, I have solicited critical feedback. I value both positive and negative feedback and have been fortunate to find readers willing to give both!
It must be said, despite one’s best intentions, negative reaction can sting. One of the most difficult criticisms I received was that my treatment of a character was condescending and the dialog involving her was clichéd. My heart! My pain at the criticism was made more acute by my fondness for this character.
Flummoxed, I couldn’t process the feedback. I finally asked another reader, who has been unfailingly thoughtful in her feedback, to help me understand the criticism. (Or the shocking accusation, if one were feeling sensitive…) In the end, I hope my edits addressed the criticisms while staying true to the heart of the story. I think they did.
Clichéd phrases were red inked on more than one occasion in this collection of stories. There were also times when language or phrasing was correct in the geographical context of the stories, but was too far outside the readers’ frames of reference. It was too authentic to be acceptable; it was disruptive to the story. In the end, everything must serve the story.
There is something about the juxtaposition between that which is too familiar and that which is too foreign that has come to intrigue me.
I wonder if you find yourself unintentionally using clichés in your writing or speech?
Conversely, have you had the experience of referring to something “universal,” only to find the audience doesn’t share your familiarity with the image, phrase or event?