First off, I still haven't heard from Wren about her prize in my contest. Wren, if you are out there, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
On to today's post. (Aren't you just trembling with anticipation?)
Over the weekend my parents were invited to attend a surprise viewing for a dear friend. Why was this a surprise? Well, for two reasons: this friend was still living, and she didn't know about the somber event.
Let me explain. Her hubby, who is a practical jokester, decided to go all out for his wife's fiftieth birthday. And by all out, yes, I do mean he staged his own wife's viewing as a surprise.
She came home to find the house decorated for a funeral. A real casket loomed in the front room. Pictures chronicling her life stood on easels around the house. A register book lay ready for guests to sign in and give their condolences. And large funeral arrangements of flowers--dead flowers--surrounded the casket. To top this all off, a sign sat by the front door that read, Please enter with reverence. And a companion sign inside the house read, Please join us in mourning Cindy's youth.
How did this remarkable woman handle this? With grace and humor. She sat beside the casket as the guests arrived and went through the funeral receiving line. She smiled and laughed as she accepted black-wrapped gifts and black balloons. She didn't even cart her hubby out of the house in the casket.
What does this have to do with writing? And, yes, it really does have something to do with it, I promise.
As a writer, you have to be willing to attend your own viewing sometimes. Well, your manuscript's viewing anyway. And just like how my mother's friend wasn't dead yet, it might not be time to actually bury the thing, but you may need to sit back and listen with a smile as friends and strangers stop by to review it.
The best thing about this is, most viewers/critiquers will have some great things to say about your manuscript's life. They will also have some less happy things to remember, and since you still have time left before it enters the coffin, you can fix those problem areas. True it can be a little awkward to still be living at your own viewing, but what an opportunity! It's like you get to cheat death and rewrite your manuscript's life. How great is that?
Have you learned to accept critiques with grace and humor? Are you ready to attend your own viewing? I am.