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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Critique/Review (for writers) (05/06/10)

TITLE: Gentle Input
By Tom Rinkes
05/08/10


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“What are you writing?” my wife asked.

“Just a little story,” I replied.

“About what this time?”

I didn't really want to tell her because I knew she wouldn't approve. “It's a story about...a...vampire.”

“Thomas Rinkes,” she said. She always calls me by my full name when she's angry with me. “You know you can't write about that—you're a Baptist. What would the Pastor think?

“I'm not planning on telling him—are you?”

“I don't know, I might. The whole subject is...sacrilegious.”

I mentally reviewed her critique, found it objectionable but correct, and hit the delete button.

***

I'm just a regular guy who caught the writing bug about five years ago. My wife, and both our grown children, are avid readers, so when I started I asked them to read my articles and stories and give me their input (a politically correct phrase used instead of criticism.) So they complied, and their reviews were kind, but to the point. Both the kids are college educated, so to the average truck driver (me) they were geniuses, and I valued their opinion. This was my early years, and my wife is now my main critic. I gave up on the kids; they're too hard on their old man.

The writer—the good ones—need to have their work critiqued. It's the only way to know when the flow, the rhythm and the theme are correct. One can self-review their work ten times or more and still miss a period, a comma or a misspelt word that spell checker didn't catch. I self-edit my punctuation and spelling but my wife will always catch the little mistakes. To have your work checked by impartial eyes is the best route to a successful manuscript, and a loving critique is better than a cold, hard pink slip any day.

***
She sat in her favorite chair, by the gas logs, in her January nightgown reading a romance novel by I-don't-know-who. As she watched me feverishly typing away, she asked:

“What are you writing tonight? A mystery, an essay or some more of that Dracula garbage?”

“Something all together different this time,” I said while looking out of the corner of one eye. “I'm writing my thoughts on the Lord for a cool website I just found. And I'm not going to do anymore of that 'Dracula garbage' as you put it.”

“Well...it is. It's almost...blasphemous.”

“Point well taken. Score one for Patty, zero for Tommy.”

She gave me her I-won't-rub-it-in-but-you-know-I'm-right grin, and we resumed our pleasures.

***

It hurts when I get a very critical review on my manuscripts. How can they do this, I think? It's flat-out the best thing I've ever written to date...but it's not. With the review process I can correct my mistakes after I take a break and utter my weekly vow never to write anything again. I hope I'm not the only one who does that.

***

“This is very, very good.” my wife said as she read my first entry on God and the Scriptures. “The Pastor would like this.”

“Do you think he'll ask me to write a sermon?” I asked.

“...Lets keep it simple for now—shall we?”

“Okay.” Score: 2-0.

***

Yet, I feel I have to be careful when I write about the Lord and Jesus. To pick a verse, a chapter or a patriarch and then misinterpret the correct meaning is a little scary to me. At the present, and the future, God will critique my life since I made my public stand for Him and His Son. He will also take into account what I have written about Him and His Word; the ultimate review. On Judgement Day when all the books are opened—and I think every life is a book—my hope is that when He gets to mine, He'll look it over, review it with the righteous eyes He has, and say:

“Not bad. Come hither.”


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Member Comments
Member Date
Mildred Sheldon05/13/10
This was from the heart and true critiques hurt but I think the ones brave enough to truly critique others work don't do it to be mean. They are trying to help us grow and become better writers than when we first began. Hang in there and keep writing because I think God has led all who write to do just that.
AnneRene' Capp 05/13/10
This is good! Well written, poignant, and down to earth. Truly enjoyed this entire article in every respect but especially your great sense of humor.
Caitlyn Meissner05/14/10
Hmm. I think I can guess who wrote this. ;)

Very good article. I found it interesting how you mixed your telling passages with your dialog. In a way it was a tad distracting, kind of like pausing a movie time and time again, but that just helped you get your point across. You did a good job.

And three cheers to your wife for being a good critiquer. It always helps to have someone like that in our lives.
TheWayTruthLife Santos05/16/10
I enjoyed your article very much. You ended your piece with a lesson for writers like me worth taking to heart. True, every Christian writer holds accountability before God. This reminds me of Mat.12:36-37. Thank you for the challenge. You have stirred me to think about my writing more carefully and wisely. God bless you.