It made me think of an email I received from a literary magazine editor who had rejected my story. When I received the rejection notice, I decided to cave in and ask him why he rejected it. If you can believe it, I received a response.
Here's what he said:
I thought this story lost some steam in the middle section, when [the main character's] wandering around town. The descriptions of what he’s seeing are presented in a passive manner; [the main character is] a passive creature so I suppose this does fit the character, but I think the prose could use some sharpening, otherwise the audience may lost interest crossing the bridge from the beginning to the confrontations he gets in at the end.And you know what? He was right. I knew it. But for a moment I felt like the guy on the bus. Even though the guy on the bus knew his shoes were untied...sometimes it really sucks to be told about obvious issues we are having. The guy on the bus knew there was a problem and really didn't want to fix it. When I first submitted the story, I'll be honest, I had a faint idea that this particular scene he described had some issues. I just hoped that the rest of the story was enough to carry the reader forward.
But I was wrong. I needed to tie my shoes. I needed to fix that scene. So, I have gone back and I rewrote that section and even took out a few parts. I have resubmitted it to another publisher and this time...this time I hope it comes out with a different result.
If the shoes in your story are untied, never forget that it's tough for all of us writers to take criticisms. Just take a look at this post by Aimee Salter, where she asks, "Writers: Are You Your Own Worst Enemy?" And she's right...we can be sometimes get in our own way. I was with this story. And it's important to recognize when you need to face the reality and tie your shoes.
Today, make sure you tie your shoes before you get off the bus. Because even though you may be sort of frustrated that someone noticed, sometimes it's for the best that you pay attention to what they have to say.
So here's me looking out for you:
Hey, your shoe laces are untied!