SPECIAL: Congratulation to Stephen Sottong winner of a crit.
2 randomly selected commenters will win a 5-page critique from either Pam or Tina. Please mention in your comment if you would like to be included in the contest. Must comment by midnight 6/19/2015 and must submit pages by 7/15/15. Please allow a four week turnaround time. Now read below and comments away!
A couple of weeks ago, I had an epic clear-the-house-out-the-kids-are-grown garage sale.
We (I should say I) have been a bit of a hoarder and had allowed my clutter, from baby toys to a giant entertainment center, accumulate over the last ten years.
I am not a garage sale person, so I had no idea how to display, price, or advertise my wares. The internet provided me with some basic guidelines. I got my signs posted, my itemed stickered and placed on tables. I felt prepared.
But I wasn’t .
I had envisioned my Star Wars themed toys, girl’s dresser, Fisher Price toy box in mint condition, a Bassett headboard would be hot items. I priced these high, expecting them be sold within the first day of the sale.
But I was wrong.
Every group of people from men, to women, to couples, to children were attracted to vastly different things.
The men wanted tools, yard supplies, building materials, fishing stuff. I had few of these items, but what I did have sold quickly. Even my non-working weed wacker was sold to a gentlemen who had a handy gleam in his eye and ‘new project’ on the brain.
A woman came and sorted through piles of stuffed animals, some for her collection, some for her dogs, some for selling on EBAY.
An older couple who must still have their VCR intact, grabbed a box of my VHS tapes.
Some of the objects I thought for sure would fly from the shelves, lingered on the last day, and only sold after deep discounting.
I had a lot left overs, but it was worth the effort. If nothing else, the sale taught me a lesson. Every human is different with different taste, wants, and needs. This thought is both daunting and encouraging to a writer.
In a recent contest I entered, I got some crazy feedback . Most loved the story and gave me scores in the high nineties out of a hundred. Then there was that one judge. She may have been having an off day, or just hated YA, or perhaps it was just her honest opinion, but she absolutely hated every little thing about my story. From the protagonist, to the grammar, to the storyline, (she did like the setting though-yeah!) she scored me fifty-three. Really. Half of what I’d earned from the other judges.
I got upset, until I remembered the garage sale.
Some people just love stuffed animals and don’t need a Star Wars collectible. Some customers adore Twilight and others would not wipe their bum with the pages. Interest, tastes, needs, differ.
Sometimes you just hit people at the wrong time.
And I also will apply this way of thinking to writing in general. Even if your writer’s group thinks a mermaid/vampire romance is a horrible idea, but there may be a market for it. If you enjoy the concept, why not someone else? Don’t allow a few naysayers suck your passion. You may just need to put up more garage sale signs to cast a wider net.
I will take her critique with a boulder of salt and see if I can salvage advice that would improve my story. I won’t let it bother me. Because the saying is true. One reader’s trash is another reader’s treasure.
Comment below. Have you had a weird garage sale experience? Got an extremely harsh critique? Share below. Or just stop in to say ‘hi’.