May 03, 2011

Go with your gut. Or not.

Besides an overhaul of the last 3 chapters (my current ending is unsatisfying, but I was unsure how to fix it. Thanks to beta input and much thought, [I think] I do now.), pretty much the only thing standing in my way of finishing MAGGIE is about 20 items on my final polish checklist.

Unfortunately, I've left these things to the end because I can't make my mind up about them. They are beta suggestions I like, but don't necessarily like for this novel. I can't find fault with them, except... in my gut, I don't feel like they fit my vision of PRODIGAL MAGGIE.

I know I can only overanalyze for so long before it becomes ridiculous. I want to discard the last beta suggestions because I feel they don't fit my vision of the book, but I'm worried about doing so because... what if my gut is tricking me and I really just don't want to make the intricate changes the suggestions call for?

I don't think that's the case, but... I'm confused. And the more I think about it, the more I confuse myself.

Suggestions, bloggy friends? Writing wisdom says go with your gut, but how do you know if your gut is telling the truth?

14 comments:

Rachel Bateman said...

I say go with your gut here. Betas are great and help shape a story, but in the end, you have to do what you feel is right.

I don't think your gut is trying to trick you out of extra work. It's been clear that you are willing to (and have done) work super, super hard for this. I think if you feel that something is just not right, then you shouldn't change it, even if the change makes sense.

Holly Dodson said...

I don't think there is a way to tell if your gut is telling the truth other than trial and error, unfortunately. You've just got to make the changes you're comfortable with and hope for the best, I think. ;) Good luck!

Miss Cole said...

Tough call! Is there another beta who could read it over? Because if they agree with the other's assessment, maybe the change will work.

However, never ever lose sight of what *you* want. Turn the suggestions over in your mind, see if you can make them more like your vision. Compromises aren't so bad :) But if it doesn't work, go with your gut!

Best of luck with this :)

Pam Harris said...

Absolutely go with your gut! Beta readers are awesome, but ultimately you have to be comfortable with your story. :)

Jenna St. Hilaire said...

My beta readers once had a serious disagreement over my use of Ender's Game-style chapter prefaces in my book. Die-hard passion on both sides. It terrified me for about a month, and at last I decided that the way I saw the book, the prefaces had to stay in. For the time being. If an agent or editor strongly dislikes them, I'll be more open to removing them than I might have been otherwise.

It seemed like a wise choice to me. Best wishes for your own decision. :)

Annie said...

The best edits are the ones that are made with an understanding of YOUR vision for the project. I say wrap up the deets and start querying. It's a good opportunity to learn if your query is ready (if not, form rejections), or if there are substantial problems with the ms (rejection of a partial/full would let you know). I say go with your gut. :)

Marquita Hockaday said...

Another vote for going with your gut. I can't add much more than what's already been said, but I think ultimately it's YOUR novel and you have to be happy with your vision for the novel, not someone else's.

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

I would say that you have to go with your gut. If you aren't sure about whether to do the edits, give it some time. If a week or two goes by and you still don't want to change things, then don't. I agree with everyone else, though. You know your story better than anyone else.

Jeanmarie Anaya said...

I had something similar happen to me. So I asked for advice during a twitter #askagent session. I think it was Jennifer Laughran who responded to me with some good (albeit short) advice: If the comments really resonate, then revise. If not, submit it as is.

I would hold off on the revisions, try testing out the manuscript with a few agents and see what they have to say. If they reject for similar reasons, then you have your answer!

Good luck!

Deb said...

I agree re: going with your gut. It's great to have candid feedback from someone who has A Very Clear Vision of what they want for your story. That vision should be subsidiary to your own, though. You've created the world; everyone else is merely visiting!

Rachel said...

When I write, I live by one rule - When in doubt, throw it out.

It hasn't failed me yet! Good luck!

Medeia Sharif said...

Go with your guts.

I also look to see if betas are consistent. If they point out the exact same thing, I'll change it. But if the betas' suggestions are all over the place, then I pick and choose the recommended changes based on gut feeling.

Heidi said...

you get me to read it and offer advice! hahhah

Jess said...

I'm Team Go With Your Gut. You know this story better than anyone else, and if the changes really would be best for your book, I think your gut would agree.

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