I was stuck at home this morning waiting for a FedEx delivery. (If you live in my building, any package left at the door is considered fair game for thieves!)
Because I had a few extra minutes I was able to give a querier some extra help. My tools involved a hatchet and a bucket to catch the blood spatter. "Murder your darlings" took on a whole new meaning. She sent me three pages; after I was done she had about six paragraphs.
Fortunately this is not a story about a writer who didn't value feedback. She did. She was very nice about thanking me for slicing her work to pieces.
Unfortunately, I am not at home waiting for the FedEx delivery man every day. Most days I'm at work brutalizing the minions and calling for the heads of uncooperative editors. Most days her work would get a form rejection and not a comment more.
If you're getting form rejections and you can't figure out what the problem is, you might want to take a class so someone can murder YOUR darlings.
There's a pretty good one being offered by Jenny Milchman and Butch Edgerton starting Feb 23. One of the best things about this is it's offered via Skype. You don't have to be in NYC to take advantage of it.
The details are here.
Both Jenny and Butch are pals of mine. They come with my highest recommendation. Butch is the author of HOOKED a book I recommend to writers as a must-have. Jenny is the hilarious and talented events wrangler at Wachtung Books in New Jersey--and the author of a book that I am very much looking forward to buying when it's published.