Having worked with Shawn on several of his projects to date, I know that I must always be alert for a new one. Sometimes I’ll think it’s genius, sometimes lunacy, and rarely in between. But he’s always fun to work with, so I’m glad to hear what he has going. If I have misgivings about the concept, the way it works is I tell him what I think, he thanks me for my input and tells me he wants to do it anyway, and I do my best to help it succeed.
This was one where I had the misgivings, with some aspects of the early version needing more originality. What Shawn does well is take that feedback to heart, like an adult and a professional, and then address it. He does this better than most writers I’ve known. His success is an example of what one can achieve when one learns from critique rather than simply tuning out anyone who does less than gush over one’s writing, story concept or whatever. Unfortunately, most people seeking critique and input don’t mean it. They mean ‘praise me.’ And when they go forth to hire an editor, they don’t want to hear ‘this needs a lot of work.’ They want to hear ‘you’re so awesome!’
Shawns are rare. I’d have a much steadier flow of work if I just lied to people who couldn’t write and refused to learn. The process would be simple. I’d tell them how great it was, make some minor changes here and there but make sure it remained the same trainwreck they sent me, they’d delight in the praise, and I’d receive money and referrals. All their fellow writers who praised their writing clearly do not know the difference, and would also seek similar praise.
If I did that, I wouldn’t amount to much.
In this one, Shawn even understood what I was trying to say when I couldn’t quite articulate it, not an easy admission for me. Something was wrong with the flow, and I wasn’t sure of the best way to fix it, so I described it in rather awkward terms. I wasn’t sure what I meant. Somehow Shawn understood me better than I understood myself, because in the next draft that issue of flow was completely remedied by changing the juxtaposition of the tale’s convergence. Abracadabra. Nice work, Shawn.
Second Chance Christmas is e-published at Amazon. If you find the holidays grumping you out a bit, its warmth and quickness of reading (9000 words) might help push a bit of the stress aside for an hour.