by Winnie Kay
Our words can make or break a newbie.
|There have been so many kind people here at WDC who have helped me grow as a writer and as a member of this community. Some are on-line everyday, and they never fail to bring me inspiration and joy. Some have prayed with me during tragedy. Some have cried with me during loss. But one stands out in my mind as an example of what this site is all about. Her name is kjo just groovin' .
Kelly was the very first member to visit my portfolio and submit a review of my one and only post. The story I submitted was very rusty. I didn’t even know about POV, and I had to ask what that acronym stood for. I was scared when I saw the review in my in-box. I was a brand new newbie, and I just knew my story was going to be rejected and snubbed. I was terrified. I began to read Kelly’s review, and my spirit soared. I didn’t know who kjo-just-groovin was, if they were male or female, old or young. All I saw were the words:
“I hope you realize soon what a fine writer you are! Just keep on reviewing and writing. You'll see!”
I had to read that line several times.
The story was actually a mess, but Kelly didn’t dive into the errors and tear my work to shreds. She could have, but she didn’t. She only made a couple of suggestions. There were so many things wrong with the story, but Kelly took it easy on me. She said I was a fine writer... Me...Winnie the Newbie.
I immediately replied with a bubbling Thank You. I was so new I didn’t even know how to make a smiley face for her. Tactfully and patiently, over the next few days, Kelly proceeded to teach me, through private e-mails, about POV, verb tense, narrative voice, and so much more. I revised accordingly, and Kelly publicly reviewed my story again a week later. She wrote:
“I can see all the work you've put in to your rewrite, and the result is a beautiful story with beautiful writing. The words are fresh and alive. . . . This is worthy of 5 stars. Well done!"
I was elated.
I don’t think she will ever know what an impact this had on me. Not only did her words and efforts spur me on to write many more stories but also encouraged me to offer the same types of reviews. She taught me how important a kind word to a newbie can be. As reviewers of others' work, we have the power to instill soaring spirits of elation and a willingness to learn. Our words can also crush an aspiring writer and cause them to never try again. Had Kelly’s words not been so carefully expressed, I probably wouldn’t still be here today.