Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Mental Snack (22)

Share your thoughts...

"Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what's wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong." ~ Neil Gaiman

Have any of your readers told you that something was wrong with your writing and needed to be adjusted in his/her way? How do you handle a situation where something is wrong with your writing? Do you ever use the advice given to you?


Carolyn V. said...

Yes. I smiled and bit my tongue. But I do look at their advice and see if I agree. If I don't I move on. (and ask lots of other writing buddies so I know everyone's opinion.)

Vatche said...

Yeah, I think I do the same thing, though I don't believe biting my tongue will do any good since it often gets loose anyway.

However, I also look at the advice of others and see if I can somehow make it work for them. If I can't, I remember the saying, "A writer cannot please every reader in the world," which is true. You can't please everybody.

I ask a lot of my writer friends on advice also, to see if it's just not the reader, but others, as well.

Anyway, thank you for your comment and write on, Carolyn!

Cruella Collett said...

I like Gaiman's quote up there, but I don't necessarily agree with it. I have been given very specific suggestions that have been both hurtful, helpful and correct. I have also been given very vague suggestions that I after much pondering decided to ignore because I disagreed. In the end some suggestions are good, some are bad, and some are subject to taste. I try not to change my writing in accordance with certain readers' taste, unless many of them share the same sentiment, but as a general rule I appreciate any kind of feedback - no matter if I end up following the advice given or not.

Nicole MacDonald said...

Frequently.. but it makes me look at the section again (i tend to ignore the actual suggestion) and it often gets re-written

Jemi Fraser said...

My crit buddies are golden - they point out the problems they see and assume I'll take their advice if I think it works for me. :) I'm so lucky!

Amparo Ortiz said...

Everything my crit partner suggests is gold. That being said, the work is still mine, and I get to choose if what I originally wrote stays or goes. Ultimately, it depends on the story, not my ego (which is nonexistent... I think...).

That's a cool Gaiman quote, by the way :D

Vatche said...

Hey, Cruella! I liked that you said, "In the end some suggestions are good, some are bad, and some are subject to taste." That's very true, because a writer won't get all of the same kind of advice. Some will enjoy it, some won't, and some will feel indifferent.

If only one person in a million said that my story wasn't his/her thing, then at least I have the good comments of the others to say it WAS a good thing. Then, I wouldn't have to change it. I would only change it if it was the other way around probably as in one person only liked the story, but a million others didn't.

Anyway, awesome thoughts and write on!

Vatche said...

Interesting thoughts, Nicole. Listening to the advice and ignoring it at first, but tackling it later in the rewrite.

I would do the opposite and fix it as fast possible, if I believed somehow my writing was flawed.

If I did it your way, I would always have that one section on my mind and how I could change it. And me, being the OCD freak that I am, at times, I would lose sleep on it.

Write on, Nicole!

Vatche said...

Jemi, you listen to your "golden" beta readers like the rest of us, but they are from an official critique group, which some of us aren't a part of. So, you're indeed lucky!

An interesting angle on the subject really.

However, once again, you are like the others. You only take the advice if it works for you, which I think we can all vouch for.

Awesome thoughts and write on!

Vatche said...

Thank you, Amparo, for your two cents on the questions.

You have one critique partner and you trust in his/her every word, which is good. However, you listen to the story and see what the story wants, which is the best thought I've heard so far. Maybe the reader had listened to the story and the writer didn't at one section of the piece, which is why the reader makes the suggestion. However, the ultimate decision lands on the writer's hands.

Listen to the what the story says and write on, Amparo!

Anonymous said...

I've used critiquers' advice many times. But I don't agree with every single suggestion made to me, or sometimes I agree with the suggestion but it's not feasible to work into my novel.

Wen Baragrey said...

I have three crit partners/beta readers and I definitely value their opinions. I don't use everything they give me, but if all of them notice the same thing and it's something I disagree with, then I definitely take it seriously. I've also been in the position of having feedback from several agents. When I had three of them all mention the same thing, then I rewrote that part. There's a time to defer to those with more experience, and there's a time to stick with what you believe, too.

I totally agree with Neil Gaiman (of course, he's my hero).

Vatche said...

Hey, Medeia (cool name btw)!

I can totally agree with you about the idea that a reader would give you advice and it won't be feasible with the storyline. I've had that happen several times actually with my beta readers, which I explain to them how it won't work.

You're so right, a writer doesn't have to agree with every single suggestion made to him/her.

Write on!

Vatche said...

Hello, Wen! I agree with you that if more than one person finds something wrong with the story, there has to be some sort of change made, though you don't have to take the readers' advice (and maybe the agents' advice).

I like that line, "There's a time to defer to those with more experience, and there's a time to stick with what you believe, too." Awesome thoughts and completely agreeable.

Write on!

P.S. Neil Gaiman is one of my writing heroes, too!

Falen said...

i always sit on their advice for a few days, for any of my emotions to fade. Then i look to see why they said what they did. If they just don't understand the writing or the point (for example saying something is scary when that's what you were going for) then i just ignore those bits of advice

Melissa said...

I haven't finished my MS enough to get a lot of critique (haven't sent it out). I did get a first chapter critique recently though and I looked at it. The lady told me what I already knew - there was nothing particularly wrong with my first chapter it just wasn't a great opening. So it gave me the incentive to change it.

But I think any other critique I would mull over a little longer.

Thanks for dropping by my blog!

Your just about to start college? That's exciting. I just finished my first year (yesterday!!). Psychology is super fun, I just took two courses because I'm working toward my lit degree but it's all really interesting and quite fun. Though you may start diagnosing everyone around you. :P

Vatche said...

Another interesting take on the situation, Falen. You wait for the emotions to fade, so that you can look at the problem in your writing more rationally rather than acting on it right away.

I think I should try that sometime! :D

Write on!

Vatche said...

Hey, Melissa, thank you for dropping by my blog!

I do a lot of chapter critiquing to see that I'm heading in the right direction. I do not usually hand over my entire MS, but give it to my readers part-by-part. My readers always give me the advice that I need to hear, regardless if it's good or bad, they still tell me.

As for starting college, it's going to be really exciting! Congrats to you for finishing your first year!

I know about the whole diagnosing people around me thing, because I had taken Psychology in high school, but I'm sure it will be fun and give me a new perspective on my writing.

Write on!

Anonymous said...

I just have to (wo)man up and at least consider their advice. The Neil Gaiman quote is very true, but then again, I haven't really gotten any specific advice.

Lydia Kang said...

I've never heard that quote before. Sometimes I agree with it, sometimes not. THere are time when people say, this isn't working, but if they're outvoted by other betas, I ignore it. And there times when someone says, it's wrong and here's how to fix it--if I suspected there was something wrong with that passage or plot issue, I'l listen carefully. Often the advice for change isn't completely what I need, but it helps me brainstorm through the problem.

WritingNut said...

I haven't had anyone seriously critiquing my work as yet, but when I do, I will try to take their advice because there is always so much we can learn.

It's hard to change your work though, especially if it's something you've poured your heart and soul into.

Vatche said...

Well, I'm really interested in your writing, Amanda. You've got a really interesting writing style, at least, that's what I see on your blog. If you don't mind, I can be your beta reader anytime and give you that specific advice!

The Neil Gaiman quote can be true for you, but not for others, which is why I put it up--to start a discussion! :D

Write on and (wo)man up!

Vatche said...

Hey, Lydia! I go by the voting system among beta readers, too. If they are outvoted though, I don't ignore it, but try to somehow deal with it and make everyone happy. :)

You're right on people giving advice that doesn't help much on your writing too, but starts a brainstorm. As soon as someone says that there's something wrong with my writing, I start to think of all the possible changes I can make. Sometimes I don't make the changes, sometimes I do. However, regardless I still think about the possibility.

Anyway, brainstorm away and write on!

Vatche said...

There's a lot you can learn from advice, WritingNut. If you ever want any critiques, I don't mind lending you some advice as a beta reader! :D

I completely agree with you about the idea of changing something you put your heart and soul into, because I've done it countless times with my own writing. It's your baby, we understand, but readers can make your baby shine like a star. So, it's not a bad to improve!

Write on and put your heart and soul into everything that you write!

Al said...

I re-read my work and see what I think of their advice.
Sometimes I agree, then I will rewrite or cut. Other times I will leave it stand.
Some of the best suggestions I have had have come from advice I didn't necessarily agree with at first.

Vatche said...

Hey, Al! That is very true for many writers, "Some of the best suggestions I have had have come from advice I didn't necessarily agree with first." I can definitely vouch for that. I don't agree with all advice given to me about my works, but still I try to understand where the advice is coming from and how it can help me and the reader together.

Write on!

Anonymous said...

Vatche, that's very sweet of you, and thanks! I have considered getting a beta reader, but what's been holding me back is that I don't think I'll have the time to look over someone else's manuscript, and that just wouldn't be fair...

Bluestocking said...

I like Gaiman's quote. It highlights the oh-so-frustrating truth that you never really know what is right with your writing until no one has a problem with it. *Sigh*

A good reminder not to be complacent with writing that's "almost" there.

Vatche said...

Hey, Amanda! I don't have any MS ready yet, but it's cool that you want a chance to read someone's MS in return, but don't worry about me. I can read your MS for nothing in return, because I enjoy what you write, which is enough for me. :)

Vatche said...

Hey, Bluestocking! It is true that Gaiman highlights a frustrating idea, but I don't think there will be a time when "no one" will have a problem with the MS, because you can't make every reader happy.

I like your reminder of "writing that's 'almost' there." Writing that is near perfection, because no writing is perfect.

Write on!

Anonymous said...

You enjoy it? Thanks so much! :D

Tell you what then, Vatche. I'll let you be my beta reader after an agent who requested a partial of my book responds back. If he doesn't want to represent me, that is.

Vatche said...

Sounds good to me, Amanda. I'll definitely read it!

Write on!

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