Thursday, March 3, 2011
WRITERS BE NICE
Okay, yesterday I read a lovely post that had a wonderful list of what all writer’s should know. I followed the link from twitter so I’ll hunt it down for you later. However, the #1 item of the list had me saying “Whoa!” and I’ll explain why.
#1 DON’T LISTEN TO OTHER WRITERS
Yep, this was the number one item on her list. At first I was in total disagreement. Then…then, I pondered on it and realized that in someways this wasn’t as bad of a rule as I thought.
This was driven even further home when I went to a writer’s group recently where another author was adamantly telling one author how she should finish her book. I mean WTHeck? Where does a writer that is in no way published have the right to tell another writer that they should seriously consider changing the ending of their book based on only reading the first 30pages of the manuscript. Sad thing was, my 13yr old author in training was at this meeting. She’d read the author’s book and heard what the author stated as the premise and ending of her book and felt that the other author was being just plain mean.
I stood up to the writer’s defense and stated to the other author that she shouldn’t make blanket statements about someone’s work after only reading the 1st 30 pages. Furthermore, it’s the author’s decision how to write their story.
Sadly, I had to agree.
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH MEANIES
Over the years as a writer I’ve explored it all. I’ve gone to writing class, critique sessions, online forums, had beta readers, temporary critique partners and truth be told it’s like finding gold when you find another writer or a beta reader that gives you honest feedback but RESPECTS the fact that it’s your story. Sometimes other authors want to make your book their story and only give advice on how they would write it.
TAKE THE GOOD and LEAVE THE BAD
When you put yourself out there while discovering yourself as an author, learn to TAKE THE GOOD and chuck away the bad. There is good to be had by having another writer review your stuff.
Pull out concrete mechanics issues.
Here’s a quick list of what to listen to.
- Grammar issues
- Plot holes
- Character Depth Issues
- Painted Scene Issues
- Inconsistency in the world you created
- Issues that are bought up by multiple readers that have in no way talked to one another. For some reason when you have many people together, they hop on the same bandwagon.
I BELIEVE YOU CAN LISTEN – JUST DO SO WISELY
In short, I believe in general authors can help and do help other authors. But you as the author of your book need to own your story, and if another author rips your stuff apart outside of the areas of grammar, main plot, characterization or areas listed above, then throw their advice to the side.
I’ve been lucky to find great authors that have helped me carve a much better story. Truth be told, I’ve only had a few meanies and most of them I’ve met in online forums. Therefore, when dealing with online communities I’m very cautious and only exchange a few pages at a time to see where the relationship leads.
WHAT’s YOUR STORY?
Do you use author critique groups? Do you disagree with the writer’s advice #1? I do, but do you? Have you dealt with a meanie? What did you do to get over it and keep writing?