Hearing the truth about my writing.

"Takeover" is getting some heavy critique. Which I want. Really I do.

Sometimes the story and the writing come together, like in "Snaked," and the editors help me get the rest of the way there.

But other times I run into roadblocks. 

I usually feel disappointed for a a day or so, and then I mull it over, and then I try to come to terms with it. It reminds me of when I was in group therapy, and something the shrink or a group member would say would strike home and I'd go away upset but by the next meeting, I'd internalized it.

If I'm going to become a better writer, I need to have my weaknesses pointed out. (As long as it's constructive.)  One of the editors came back with a critique that included exactly the same weaknesses I've identified in myself; which is both validating in a strange sense, but also a little discouraging.

I'm aware that I don't always have the characters respond to emotional events, aware that I lack "action tags" and mostly use "dialogue tags."

I usually address this by concentrating on "telling details" in the rewrites. Trying to bring in more character movement and description, more senses than visual, more reaction to important moments. I've also tried harder to add these elements in the first draft.

I've accepted that rewrites are especially important for me. I think I need second-parties to point out where I've fallen short.

I tend to want to get that first draft down, not tarry, then try to go back and dress it up. I purposely try to add 10 to 15% to the second draft. Perforce, this usually addresses at least part of the problem.

"Your strength is in the concept and the buildup to the conclusion, not so much the tiny details."

This too, I agree with, as well as my simple, straight-forward style. (Which I strive for.)

These are problems that can be addressed--that's what rewriting is for.

It's the structural problems that give me fits, and those are much harder to fix. I've found that messing too much with the structure is problematic, and yet...if I don't...the book might not work. Sometimes I just have to accept what I've done and move on.

The problem is, I discover plot by writing, and I tend to meander for a bit before I find the story, and then I have hard time tightening up the meandering. Yes, outlines would be helpful. But I repeat: I discover plot by writing. 

So...going forward.

More attention to "telling details," more reaction to events, more streamlining the early parts of my plots. I've written 35 books, and I still feel sometimes like I'm trying to write my first book.