My Sister’s Critique

Outtakes 169

My Sister’s Critique

By Cait Collins


I received a package from my older sister today. She returned the manuscript I asked her to read. I realize a family member is not always objective when reading our work, but my sisters have no problems telling me a piece is not up to standard. In fact I can count on them to put me in my place. My older sister has reviewed other manuscripts and has always provided valuable critiques.

Sis did not want to mark up the manuscript, so she sent eight hand-written pages of errors she’d found. Her notes cited page number, paragraph, and the sentence. The corrections ranged from misspellings, to missed punctuation, to tense issues. I proof read the manuscript three times before sending it and would have sworn I’d caught everything. It’s amazing what a fresh pair of eyes can see. Her changes are easy to make and will help polish the work.

Since she is reading the book cover-to-cover instead of one chapter at a time, she is in a better position to see inconsistencies in tense, setting, and descriptions. My sister helps prevent a character having blue eyes in chapter one and brown eyes in chapter six.

As much as I appreciate her catching the grammar and punctuation problems, I value her take on the memoir. When she told me she could see our dad holding my hand and walking the ship’s deck, I wanted to cry. She was with me in the last chapter when I again, in dreams, return to Maine. But when she told me the memoir made her think, I realized my recollections were more than revisiting the past. Maybe my story could help someone else struggling to journey from heartache to contentment. Her encouragement will compel me continue to submit First Love; Forever Love to agents and editors. Thanks, Sis. You helped me more than you know.

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