Thursday, March 8, 2012

Insecure Writer’s Day

I’ve been getting lots of helpful feedback from both critique partners and professional editors I’ve met. I actually have found the feedback from my critique partners in the blog-o-sphere more helpful at times than some of the suggested changes from professional editors.  My dilemma stems from some of the suggestions I’ve received from professional editors who want to create some pretty sweeping changes to my storyline.

I want to make my story the best it can be, and have no qualms about changing it to make it better, which I’ve done many times and will continue to do. Nonetheless, I find myself doubting some of the suggestions from a few editors I’ve spoken with, mainly because the things they want to change take away something of the spirit of what makes my work unique. After all, if I can’t write the story I want, it takes away the purpose of me crafting it in the first place.

Ever get bogged down in seemingly endless rewrites? How do you decide which feedback to accept and which to ignore? When do you compromise on a point and when do you stick to your guns?


  1. Listen to your heart. No matter who it is that is giving you feedback it is still their OPINION.

  2. Yeah, stick with your gut instinct. If it takes away from the story you wrote, changes the essence, then it's not your story anymore.

  3. Don't compromise if you think it's going to ruin your book. Your book is yours and you shouldn't let edits ruin your voice. It happens all too often!

    You've enough books that you know what good writing is. Don't let the opinion of someone else change what you think. Good luck!

  4. Mark,
    Don't lose the heart of your story. It is so wonderful and too many changes may take away from its essence.

  5. Learning which crits to take and which to ignore is very very difficult. Which is why I don't take any.


  6. If someone asks you to make changes that cause you to feel like you aren't being true to your story then you shouldn't do it. I think the smarter thing to do is to hold out for the editor who agrees with your vision and wants to help you make THAT story shine. JMO.

  7. Go with your gut. Don't change anything that makes your writing unique. Feedback is good, but it's not always what's best for you or your writing. : )

  8. Oh, yes. I understand. Feedback is good--when they tell you what doesn't work for them. It lets you know where you may need to focus some thought to. But it's YOUR story.

    I love Orson Scott Card's "wise reader". He doesn't want people telling him how to fix it; that's his job as the writer. But he does need to know when an area isn't working.

  9. I would also say to listen to your gut. If they're asking you to write out the special element that makes the story yours . . . that sounds like it would be cutting out too much.

  10. That's always a tough one. I've never worked with professional editors, but I know for sure that no matter how good a piece gets, critiquers will always find new suggestions for change. The key is to work out when it's not making it better, just different.

    I find I get to know the preferences of regular critters, and gauge how close those preferences are to my own intent. That helps to screen out some of the changes that are tugging in the wrong direction for me.

    I do pay more attention to things that resonate with me, or that several people say, because that suggests a real problem.

  11. Mark, I went through what you are going through now. I received a lot of advice based on the 10 pages a few writers read.

    My advice would be listen to your instinct, see if the advice clashes with your own story telling sensibilities (we all have a distinct way of telling stories).

    And last but not the least, if you feel the change improves your story, then go for it, by adopting some of the changes that will improve the story and leaving the ones that clash with your view point.

  12. I'm chiming in with the choir here - if your heart is telling you it's not right, then don't do it!

  13. Feedback is also subjective, which makes the CP and editing business tricky. You ought to try and appeal to as many world views as you can, but who is to say one person's suggestion is going to really help that happen. See how it fits into your story, will it (or a variation of the idea) work better? I say, if it makes things clear, go for it. If it grinds you to a halt, maybe the change is best left unmade.

    Best of luck to your edits! :)

  14. It's a slow process of trusting your gut, I think.

  15. Michael – Sounds good, thanks for the advice:)

    Alex – Makes sense. Sometimes it’s easy for a “gut” instinct to get clouded.

    MrsLittleJeans – Thanks!

    J.A. – Thanks for the support:)

    Susan – I will follow your candid advisory:)

    Deborah – Lol;)

    L.G. – I think that sounds like a good balance you’ve got there. I’ll try to apply it myself.

    Emily – Agreed, I want to keep the uniqueness part for sure.

    Donna – A very subtle, but important point, thanks for making it! :)

    Eagle – Very good point:)

    Botanist – Yeah, I’m trying to only look at things I’ve heard across the board from multiple readers. It depends on the particular audience I have at the moment as well.

    Rachna – Well, I of course would follow your suggestions:) That’s why you’re one of my crit partners:)

    Sarah – Sounds like common sense, I think I’ll follow it.

    David – I like that…clarity. Always something essential to strive for, thanks:)

    Lynda – Indeed it is.