January 28, 2010

Opinions are like...

Driver's licenses. Everyone has one.

Thought I was gonna say something else, didn't you? Tsk!
Don't you know only my characters talk like that!

It is difficult to reconcile the opinions of others to your own.

Currently, two writer-friends are reading the first 60 pages of my manuscript. I have reached the point where opinions will start trickling in.

There will be positive criticism. There will be negative criticism. But I have no doubt it will all be constructive criticism, because my writerly confidence is too fragile to hand it over to anyone but those I know will be compassionate. Writer friends, understanding the self-doubt and difficulties that come with the profession, are too sympathetic to say something like, "This sucks," which just happens to be my worst writing fear.

And that isn't to say I won't hear (or don't need) lots and lots and LOTS of criticism. I need it desperately. But how on earth could telling an author their book sucks ever be helpful?

The type of criticism I need is something along the lines of, "This section doesn't hold my interest, you might want to (insert suggestion here)." Even if I don't agree with their way of fixing the problem, I have now been made aware of it in a gentle, helpful way.

Some people have expressed concern over why they cannot yet read my manuscript. The problem with letting people read right now is that my faith in the book is still shaky. I think it's good, but I'm not positive. I have to have enough faith in my creation to shrug off inadvertently cruel remarks before I feel safe enough to hand it out like Halloween candy. It's self-preservation, plain and simple.

But when I reach that point (and fix that persistent plot hole in act II), I will gladly, anxiously, excitedly let family - and select friends - read.

Then my worry will be too many opinions. As the old saying goes, you can't please everyone. So what ever will I do when I have 5 drastically different opinions about the same chapter? It could boggle the mind!

The answer is intuition. I must trust that odd little thing that skulks about in the back of my head, telling me what I usually already know but for one reason or the other wish to ignore. That is how you reconcile the opinions of others to your own.

Faith and intuition. Two of the most powerful tools - in writing and in life.


Candice said...

Funny how Mary Sunshine looks a lot like The Catt...haha. :)

Abby Stevens said...

Hmmm... yes, well... I do believe that is your imagination.

Aw, who am I kidding? The only model in front of me was me... maybe I will feature YOU in my next sketch! Muah ha ha ha!

Georgia mommy of 3 said...

How awesome! I would love to read it when you're ready as well! :)

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