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MONDAY MUSINGS – FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS August 25, 2014

Filed under: Blog,Publishing,Query,writing craft — chasingthecrazies @ 8:13 am
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I’m  a lucky girl. Not only do I have writing friends online who have become my trusted CPs, but I also have an AMAZING group of local women I meet with every month to swap pages. Yay! KICK-AZ writers :)

 

At our recent meeting, we started talking about WriteOnCon. If you don’t know about WriteOnCon, it is an amazing online writing conference for those who write Pictures Books up to New Adult. Check it our here.

 

Two in our group were planning to submit materials to the forums, while two others had not heard about the event. As I was explaining the details of how you can upload your query, one of the writers asked if anyone could critique your work. We discussed that any writer could look at your thread and comment. That began a whole different conversation about getting feedback. Oh, feedback!

 

As of the moment I’m writing this, there are over 220 queries posted to the WriteOnCon threads. Now, not all those people are going to comment on what you load to the forums, but most likely you are going to get a number of people (hopefully!) who want to give you feedback. Here’s the thing, not every piece of praise, or criticism, is going to resonate with you. Over the last two years of participating in the conference, I’ve personally seen some brilliant feedback and some, well, not so much. And that is okay. We are ALL learning every day.

 

When I first started sharing my work, I thought I had to implement every piece of advice I was given. Guess what happened to my first manuscript? It turned into a bloody mess. After incorporating every single critique I got, my beloved main character had totally lost her voice. And the story? It was almost unsalvageable.

 

 

The key to feedback is deciding whether or not the changes make sense in terms of your manuscript. Some things to ponder:

 

 

Plot: Will making a sweeping change have a domino effect within your manuscript and compromise the direction of the story?

 

Pacing: If you add or delete a scene, will it slow down, or speed up, your narration to an uncomfortable point?

 

Voice: If you implement feedback for dialogue and/or internal thought, will it change the voice of your main character?

 

 

Here is the lesson I learned: everyone has an opinion. The thing to remember is that not all feedback is appropriate for your manuscript. Read through it all of course, but only incorporate what is appropriate for the tone and voice of your story. People can give you tons of advice, but only you and your instincts know what will make your book stronger.

 

So be grateful for the amount of time people have spent giving you their thoughts. Be gracious. Say, “thank you,” but don’t rush to make immediate changes. Let the critiques sit for a while, and then, when you’re ready, only implement what feels right. I promise that you, and your manuscript, will be better for it!

 

Fellow writers, how do you handle feedback? Would love to hear in the comments!

 

 

 

10 Responses to “MONDAY MUSINGS – FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS”

  1. I so agree. One of the hardest things as a developing writer is to know whose advice to listen to. The nice thing about WriteOnCon is that you normally get enough feedback to see trends in the comments and that really tells you there’s something that needs fixing.

  2. yakinamac Says:

    Wise words. I think it’s also important to give yourself some time to absorb feedback before deciding whether or not you agree with it. Some of the most insightful comments on my manuscript weren’t at all clear to me for a while – then that moment comes when you go, “Yes, I get it – and I hadn’t even realised that was what was scratching around in my subconscious until you put it into words!” Those light bulb moments are solid gold.

  3. Great comments! I learned the hard way about everyone’s feedback not always being appropriate. When I was a newer writer, I listened to everything because I didn’t know better. The first time i posted a first page online I got a lot of feedback. I changed everything, and my own writer voice was gone. Some people were adamant I get my MC’s eye color on the first page. And her hair color. I suppose if that’s important, but most of the time it’s not. You never really know who is giving you that advice when it’s online, which is both a plus and a minus. These people don’t have to be nice to you, so they are honest. They also don’t have to be nice to you so they can be harsh, or judgemental, or worse, WRONG. Haha. Always good to step back, let the comments sit, and look for patterns.

    I echo your advice to say thank you and not rush on the changes.

    • Hi Stephanie:

      Thank you for your comments! I agree with your thoughts about looking for patterns. If you’re getting the same comment over and over, it’s definitely time to pay attention.

  4. So true. I used to try and please every opinion I received and my manuscript was a complete mess. I’m learning to only use what I think is right. It’s working too. I’m also participating in Writeoncon this year. I’ve have been for a few years. It has taught me how to do this. Best wishes.

  5. susherevans Says:

    I love the advice to wait on critiques before implementing. Often the suggested change is less important than the identification that *something* needs to change.


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