It’s March 2nd and time for another Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly post.
Last month, I said, “I may be Insecure but I’m putting aside the whining and complaining – for a few days at least.” Well that only lasted a week or so, and then I spiralled into a pit of inactivity. Part of that was due to the ongoing delay in getting to the US.
And there’s the shifting sands that are my novels and their storylines.
What do you do when the comments from beta readers/critique partners/writing group colleagues/editors or whoever throw up new angles on your fantastic tale?
I attempt to take them on board – if they ring true. However, it often means another re-write and sometimes that can be radical.
With my debut novel, “Spiral of Hooves”, I had to re-work the whole timeline and some of the characters after my writers group pointed out ways of improving the storyline. It was better for the changes – I think.
I’ve just had a thorough critique on “Storms Compass”, and I can see where the fellow writer was coming from. However, I now face a major rewrite that will include adding scenes, explanations, descriptions, clarification – plus deleting whole chunks that are subplots that don’t tie in.
Do I trim frantically? Do I incorporate Book 2 to make a more rounded storyline?
So many questions. Perhaps I will put “Storms Compass” on a back-burner = bury it in my personal slush pile. I can then return, one day, to the novel I revised during NaNoWriMo 2015 – “Fates Maelstrom”. Or does that have the same built-in failings?
The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. We post our thoughts on our own blogs. We talk about our doubts and the fears we have conquered. We discuss our struggles and triumphs. We offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling.
Please visit others in the group and connect with my fellow writers.
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG
The awesome co-hosts for the March 2 posting of the IWSG are Lauren Hennessy, Lisa Buie-Collard, Lidy, Christine Rains, and Mary Aalgaard!
This is definitely one of the major pitfalls of critiques for sure. I try to take them in stride… I read the critique, give it a few days to settle (so I’m not reacting emotionally) and then if I genuinely believe the critique is BS I’ll ignore it, but if I think there’s real, valid points in there I’ll try to follow it. If that involves a lot of rewriting, I cry a little inside, but eventually get to it. lol
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking a break, though, if you don’t have it in you to do a rewrite right now, just as long as you’re working on something else in the meantime. ^_^
Thanks Tracey for those words. Think the key is time to settle, which is where I am at the moment.
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You have to decide if the beta reader (or whoever) is right. There’s a saying that if they tell you something is wrong, they’re right. If they tell you how to fix it, they’re wrong. But I’ve had a beta reader suggestion things that meant I had to rewrite half my book and it actually came out for the better because I realized she was right.
Let it all sink in before you begin. Think on it. Plan. Then do.
Although my first reaction to my critique partner’s comments was negative, I’ve since decided many of the comments were correct. Things are now sinking in and a strategy is appearing. Thanks for the encouragement, Chrys.
If it’s any consolation, I had to completely redo the ending to Thanmir War and rework all of the characters too. At least it’s a building process, and you’ll create something great in the end.
Thanks Loni. I will keep building, even if some of the bricks get discarded. 🙂
I always take at least three days after a critique before I make any decisions. I always take that time to mull over what has been said/written from others about the work, then and only then do I go back over the comments. I also don’t pay much attention if there are too many diverse comments. If there are three or more that all say the same thing, then I worry about it and know changes must be made. Hope that helps and good luck! http://www.lisabuiecollard.com
Three days sounds sensible, Lisa. Trouble is my mind won’t switch off. Also I only got one set of comments as my beta readers remain silent. Trusting in my senses then.
You posed a conundrum that I will eventually face, but I have to put it out there first. I agree with the others, though. Set it aside. Think about what was said and then reread it for yourself with those questions and changes in mind. If you think it will improve it go for it, but if not, you will know you gave it some honest thought.
Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit
That’s what I’m trying to do, Juneta – set it aside. But my mind keeps coming back to the critique and the ways that the novel could change. Hope that you have better luck with the conundrum.
I get your confusion about what to do. Maybe you don’t want to incorporate everything your critique group suggested. They are only suggestions. It’s still your story and rather than give up, you should only use what you feel comfortable with.
Wise thought Susan. In this case it’s more a matter of what I choose to discard – but same reaction process.
I always take beta readers and citique partners’ opinion very seriously, for the simple reason that listening to them has made my story better multiple times in the past. Yes, I rewrote it a lot of times (and I’m not done yet). I rewrote my opening to the first novel of my trilogy some 30 times (and I’m not done yet). Do I regret it? Not in the least. It is a lot better today, because other eyes watched it and saw what was wrong.
I know it’s tricky, and sometimes, realising you have to rewrite most to the story is even scary. But belive me, you’ll be happy you did it. If you feel inside yourself that’s the right thing to do, don’t worry about the work ahead. It will be worth it 😉
Yes Sarah, it’s a daunting prospect rewriting again… and again, especially as it means not working on my mystery novel set in Wales. But as you say, it will be worth it. Thanks for the reassurance – and your amazing example.
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