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underthecity
02-22-2008, 08:32 PM
When you receive advice regarding your story, whether it's from a friend/coworker, someone commenting on your sample in SYW, or just your own internal editor, how much do you actually use? Reject?

I've gotten great tips in SYW, but sometimes a comment just misses the mark. Say a person says, "That would never happen in real life." My answer is: but it's a book. It's fiction. Anything can happen in fiction. In my own case, a supernatural event may have caused something weird and entirely unexplainable to happen, whether it's a character action or plot.

What do you do with the advice you receive? Has anyone ever given you a piece of advice that made your story a million times better?

allen

juneafternoon
02-22-2008, 08:39 PM
The best piece of advice was in the SYW forum a while ago, something that completely changed my outlook on how I write. I'm striving for clearer, more concise, less frolicking, writing. (My pacing was way off.)

I'm not one of those people that always dives behind a shield when someone crits my work. I listen to it. Sometimes (in my thread in SWY, for example) someone says something that makes no sense and is way off mark, and I'm smart enough to know that people like that should be paid no heed.

Common sense :)

stormie
02-22-2008, 08:42 PM
Depends on who's giving the advice. My sisters are great beta readers. Each has their own opinion, but are on target with the advice. And one does the grammar, one the plot, one the characterizations. Makes my stories better (or I scrap them 'til a later time). My husband, unfortunately, loves everything I write, but he only reads the first page or two. He's not a "reader" unless it's something to do with NASA or the Beatles. I don't usually ask anyone else their opinion. I'd get too confused.

But once I get their opinion, I make the changes, then put my work aside for at least a week then look at it again. That's when I'm my own editor.

Patrick L
02-22-2008, 08:45 PM
Stephen King looks for majority opinions, or so he wrote in On Writing. He said if one person complains about something that no one else has a problem with, he leaves it alone.

ChaosTitan
02-22-2008, 08:46 PM
One of the biggest challenges that seems to face beginning writers (and some veterans) is learning to accept, interpret and ultimately use or reject advice. Especially when they receive contradictory advice from several sources.

I went through it, changing a story to suit every single criticism, and in the end it was worse than when I started. I learned to measure the crit against the needs of the story and my intentions for it. One particular example is from the book currently on submission to several agents. Long story short, my critter told me twice that I should cut my opening chapter completely. I listened to her reasons and appreciated them, but in the end, I kept the chapter. Because I still think it's necessary to the story and to the main character's conflict (and no, it's not boring backstory exposition).

Some of her other crits, though, were spot-on, IMHO. I used them, and I do think they made the book better.

jst5150
02-22-2008, 08:54 PM
Judging the source, whether solicited or unsolicited, is important. Is the source credible? Did you ask for the advice or was it merely given? There's also the how much do you want/need question. In theory, you could have your manuscript continuosly circulating. However, I think in a situation like that, you're just looking for what you want rather than what's helpful.

And that's probably a facet as well -- are you having some review just to rub your belly, or are you really looking for new clay to mold with? My experience when someone says, "read this and tell me what you think," they want affirmation rather than acceleration.

Successes I've seen have always come when people target feedback specifically (e.g., asking for a read on grammar, and have another read on style, and another read for pacing, and so on). Beta readers can be a huge resource that way.

I'd think having that sort of preparation before sending to a pub house or agent would give you an upper hand.

WendyNYC
02-22-2008, 08:59 PM
I suppose the criticism has to ring true to me. I have pretty good beta readers, so it often does. If I can see how somthing will make my story better, I'll change it. If it seems like that person just didn't "get" it, then I don't. I take criticism well, I think, so I don't worry about ignoring good advice just because I'm defensive.

donroc
02-22-2008, 09:00 PM
Agreeing with jst 5150 --Depends on the source and their biases.

sunna
02-22-2008, 09:01 PM
I'm learning to listen hardest to the advice I like least: often that can point out a blind spot. Also, obviously, to anything several betas/critters point out. And anything an agent is kind enough to tell me, I'm going to take a good long look at.

Which is not to say that anything not falling into these categories is tossed - or that anything in them is an automatic change: I think about every point, and decide what feels right (sometimes after a week or two of angsting over it, but I've gotten by without dignity so far, so that's good :D).

Ultimately I know the story and the characters best, and all the advice I get has to be weighed against my sense of what's best. It can take me a while to figure that out, of course.

sheadakota
02-22-2008, 09:09 PM
sometimes my readers want my characters to be something I never intended- case in point- my protag in WIP is geneticaly engineered but doesn't know that- when he finds out he struggles with his humanity or lack there of- at times he is hard to like as he swings to the darker side of who he was programed to be- one of my betas wants me to cut the part where he kills someone saying- But he"s the good guy!

Yes- but even good guys have to resist temptation and make a desicion in the end- My point is he has to be bad in order to decide to be good- my reader didn't want this- she wanted all sunshine and happyness- jeese!

DeleyanLee
02-22-2008, 09:11 PM
There's lots of things that goes into how I take advice:

Beta reader or just casual acquaintance? How much did they actually read--a chapter, a snippet, the entire book? What are their personal biases, pro and con? Were they intending to crit it--and if so, what were they looking for--or were they just reading it as a reader? What's their agenda for giving commentary in the first place?

After those filters have been applied, I take what remains to be considered and see how they might affect my core story ideas. If they warp what I know my story is, then I sit down and look at the prose and see where I didn't communicate my story correctly and fix it. If they jive with the story, then I look at my reaction to what was said.

If I have no emotional reaction, then I discount the comment completely.
If I have a strong emotional reaction (either pain or joy), then I set it aside to look at when I'm not emotionally charged to see where someone might get that reaction. I've learned over my years that the comments that I have the strongest negative reaction to are usually the ones that truly need to be addressed, whereas the ones that make me smile are "atta girls" and need to be left alone.

When necessary, I go back to people and open up a dialogue to better understand where the highs and lows happened for them. Sometimes the problem is as small as a single word and sometimes an entire concept just doesn't translate well onto the page. Most people offering commentary don't think about these kinds of details, so it helps if I help pinpoint their attention a bit more. With my established readers, I try to do this in the initial stage of the commentary because I always have the answers to all those first filter questions and can just get to the meat of the information offered when the reading experience is fresh in their minds.

ORION
02-22-2008, 09:25 PM
My editor from Putnam had this conversation with me before we worked on LOTTERY- She said if a writer makes approx. 75% of the changes generally it's sufficient...
But I don't think you are asking specifically about editing-
With my beta readers if it's a clarity issue I take it seriously- if it's subjective ( yr example "that would never happen") I see what my other readers say.
Generally if I have to explain anything to one of my betas I take it really seriously as you do not have that liberty with your readers.
During the workshops I have attended I see more writers pig headedly ignore constructive criticism than I do those who immediately change anything anytime...

joyce
02-22-2008, 09:41 PM
If I'm getting the same criticism from the majority of my betas, then I think there is a problem that should at least be looked at. If one person doesn't like something but the others like it, then I'm more prone to leave that section alone. When I began to query my first novel, I had several partials and fulls out to agents and began to receive the same criticism back from every one. It was too controversial for a first time author. I took a step back and thought, my novel was too controversial and knew what they meant. Personally, I like it just the way it is and have no plans to revise it to tone down the controversial stuff. My betas thought it was edgy and begged me not to change the story. Who knows, maybe one day it won't be controversial.:D

IceCreamEmpress
02-22-2008, 09:44 PM
I often get critiques that make me think, "Wow, why didn't I see that myself?" and I always act on those.

When I resist a critique, I think it's useful to look at why I'm resisting it. Is it because I've developed an inappropriate infatuation with some minor detail ("But the poodle HAS TO be named Madame de Pompadour!") that actually blocks the flow of the narrative? Or is it because the critiquer has just gotten the wrong end of the stick for, as other people have said, their own biases (real-life example: "There's no way a sixty-year-old man would be going to a sex party")?

joyce
02-22-2008, 09:51 PM
(real-life example: "There's no way a sixty-year-old man would be going to a sex party")?

:roll:I've met some 60 year old men that wanted to host one.

donroc
02-22-2008, 10:00 PM
70s too.

HeronW
02-22-2008, 10:06 PM
Depends on the advisor and what I'm looking for critique-wise. If say, a non-AW-er or someone of similar ilk sez: I love it! of my story, Hey, I love you too, and it's my positive stroke with no strings.

If I ask for a: 'what's wrong with this, tell me warts and all,' I expect that this reader--whom I choose as more canny in wart-finding, to point out the unsightly blemishes, and the beauty marks.

For the reviewer who says 'this is slop I wouldn't feed to my pigs,' I think of appropriate revenge scenarios and then act on them under an assumed name. :}

BlueTexas
02-22-2008, 10:13 PM
(real-life example: "There's no way a sixty-year-old man would be going to a sex party")?

I have a 62 year old male family member who would absolutely go to a sex party, and probably be a hit. But anyway...

Grammar advice I always take, and anything that the entire crit group comments on - that's a big indicator to me that something's wrong. Clarity, structure, I take advice well on those too. Style is a different matter. Usually I ask for specific advice though - "this scene lacks something, any ideas where it's gone wrong?" or the like.

I think if you're going to ask for help, it's rude to just cut that help off at the knees because you can't be objective. One guy at my crit group last night did just that. When we asked him why a certain bit of dialogue was in the story - it was a big sore thumb that had no connection to anything else - he said just because he liked it. We suggested he plant a seed leading to that earlier, justify it somehow if he liked it that much, he blew us all off. Oh well.

He also had a character with a very Irish first name and a very German/Hungarian last name - and he thought it inconsequential when I asked him if he did it on purpose. He hadn't, but he's fine to ignore that, where he might do better to listen to the first bit.

But it's hard to be objective about your own work, so maybe that's why we all have trouble taking advice we've asked for sometimes.

SmartAsh
02-22-2008, 10:19 PM
For me, it depends on whether an explanation was provided. If a person simply says "eh, I don't like it" but provides no suggestions for improvement or even a reasoning for their disapproval, I'll typical just thank them for their input and move on. If a person says "eh, I don't like" and tells me why, I'll seriously consider their reasoning and see if it has merit (and since I will admit that I can't always see the faults in my work clearly, I'll often ask for opinions from others on the same issue; as many posters have already said, if multiple people have a problem with something, then a problem likely exists).

ishtar'sgate
02-22-2008, 10:21 PM
When you receive advice regarding your story, whether it's from a friend/coworker, someone commenting on your sample in SYW, or just your own internal editor, how much do you actually use? Reject?
What do you do with the advice you receive? Has anyone ever given you a piece of advice that made your story a million times better?

allen
I take all advice, even my own internal editor, with a grain of salt. I don't immediately think advice is right or wrong but mull it over for a few days. If I hear the same comment from a variety of advisors, I generally accept it as a flaw in my manuscript that needs fixing.
The only piece of advice I was given that made my story better was from a reader immediately prior to the manuscript goiing to print. He noticed that someone I'd killed off several chapters before was miraculously resurrected for the final chapter! He was immediately returned to his grave.:D
Linnea

The Exorcist
02-22-2008, 10:55 PM
Advice on grammar, puncuation and other mechanical aspects, I always take.

However... I have a very hard time knowing what other forms of advice to take.
I don't want to repeat other approaches or storylines- so much of what is out there seems to be a re-hash of what's already out there. That is the one thing I am trying to avoid above all other mistakes that I could make.

People have told me I have a good, unique style. I really don't know what they mean, but I sure don't want to mess that up by parroting other authors!

mscelina
02-22-2008, 11:03 PM
With critiques and editing, I consider 100% of the advice; I may take anywhere from 40 to 50 percent as gospel and waffle a bit on another 20. Grammatical critiques I double check and then implement if the beta was right. Storyline and character crits are a bit trickier for me. None of my beta have read later books in the series and sometimes I write character quirks and throw them in as an aside to cross-reference with the next bit of the story.

The best advice I can give anyone about critiques is as follows: (A) always thank the reader nicely. (b) Before you start freaking out over the crits, sit down and read the story from front to back and think about what impact those crits could actually have on your work. (c) be prepared to look at your manuscript with very harsh eyes.

Writers should be willing to change, yes, but they should also be able to draw a line. No one knows your story/characters/internal motivations better than you. Good luck!

ClaudiaGray
02-22-2008, 11:53 PM
I also look at majority opinions -- if three of my four readers like something, and the fourth dislikes it, I'm a whole lot more likely to keep it in.

As for other things, I find a very telling detail is: Which crits stick with you? When you first read any crit, your impulse is to protect your darling words -- it takes a little while to settle in and take the crit in. After that, see what stays in your mind. The ones that make you think the hardest are probably the ones that touch on real flaws.

newshirt
02-23-2008, 12:09 AM
IMO, fiction can go well beyond reality. But, it takes some finesse to pull it off. The reader needs to be lead through a series of plausible steps to get where you want them. At no point can they say, "Aw, that'll never happen." If they do, the story needs more work.

--ray

BlueLucario
02-23-2008, 12:19 AM
What do I do with my advice? Suck everything up like a sponge, can't help myself.

DWSTXS
02-23-2008, 01:14 AM
For overall like/dislike of the novel as a story, I'll let anyone read it. If I know someone does not read often, then I won't bother with them. Why would I want a crit from sone one who never reads anyway? They aren't the type to go into a bookstore and buy a book anyway.

For publishibility, I'd only want to receive a crit from someone who's been published.

icerose
02-23-2008, 01:23 AM
I listen and greatly consider any and all advice that strikes a cord with me. If I get even a small ahah moment.

If I don't get the comment, I don't get where t hey are coming from even after they clarify, I get a second opinion, if that person thinks everything is great I get a third opinion.

Usually, even the off the mark comments outside of the plain nasty ones, those go straight in the garbage, are there for a reason. Even if they didn't get it, there's almost always something wrong with the passage but they just didn't explain it in the same terms I would if I were looking in from the outside.

I rarely ever throw away comments, they help me see my work from their eyes and more often then not the flaws that are there.

Terran
02-23-2008, 01:28 AM
This immediately brought to mind the Plot-in-a-Line thread were I received tons of useful advice.
The only problem was that nearly every suggestion was different. Some would say it was to vague others would say it was pretty good. I would give it another shot usually resulting in one giant run on sentence, so of-course then people would respond that there's to much info, or I should focus more on a certain point, so I’d slash it back down again...pops to vague again.
All were great suggestions and they were all correct...for that person. Some found it to much of a cliché, others were intrigued by the vague reference to evil in it, everyone took something different from it...and this is what lead me to the one great truth--you can’t make everyone happy.
It also brought to mind a quote by the often over quoted King: you can’t please all of the people all of the time but you should at least try to please some of the people some of the time.
So I decided to follow the rule of three. If three or more people tell me that this or that part is not working for them then I sit down and take a good look at that part and decide what should change.

Susan Breen
02-23-2008, 02:15 AM
I started off as a reporter and that got me used to having my writing torn up and so by the time I switched over to fiction, it all seemed quite civil to me. I always listen to critiques, but especially those having to do with how the reader is connecting with the characters or the story.

Sonneillon
02-23-2008, 03:22 AM
I'm generally open to advice, but in the end, I'm the one writing the story. When CC contains suggestions for improvement, I will always do my reviewers the courtesy of taking a good, long look at the segment in question, trying to consider it from different angles to see if it really needs improving. If it does, so be it. If I don't think it does, then that's my choice, but I never brush off or ignore feedback unless it's very obvious the reader doesn't have a clue what s/he is talking about.

Judg
02-23-2008, 04:21 AM
Be sceptical about advice that comes from people (especially aspiring writers) who blindly adhere to rules. You know, the ones who condemn every single adverb and adjective, think that back story is automatically bad at all times and in all forms, have intractable views on prologues, declare that omniscient third is of the devil... Knee jerk reactions about technicalities are not helpful.

I tend to overdo adverbs. When I'm called on them, I always take a close look and usually make a change. But not always. Sometimes that adverb conveys exactly the information I want to be there, and in the way I want it to be said. So it stays.

Compliments can be useful too. I just hate it when I'm complimented for creating an effect I didn't want. I hit a target, just not the right one.

Riley
02-23-2008, 04:28 AM
When you receive advice regarding your story, whether it's from a friend/coworker, someone commenting on your sample in SYW, or just your own internal editor, how much do you actually use? Reject?

I've gotten great tips in SYW, but sometimes a comment just misses the mark. Say a person says, "That would never happen in real life." My answer is: but it's a book. It's fiction. Anything can happen in fiction. In my own case, a supernatural event may have caused something weird and entirely unexplainable to happen, whether it's a character action or plot.

What do you do with the advice you receive? Has anyone ever given you a piece of advice that made your story a million times better?

allen

When I am writing, I am often fortunate enough to know just what it is that needs editing. So when I seek advice, I look to see if people are commenting on (or, in some rare cases, around,) the things I was worrying about. I almost always consider every bit of advice I get. However, if it's from someone who isn't a writer (or someone in the publishing business or an avid reader,) I probably won't take the advice very seriously at all.

I'm not sure I have an internal editor, or at least in the traditional sense of the word. I don't have a little voice in my head constantly complaining about different portions of my writing. I do "hear" the editor sometimes, and when I do, it's usually major (ex: "this plot won't work." "Yeah it wil--oh, yeah, I see what you mean. DELETE.")

Sometimes advice really does miss its mark. I think that's because everyone has a different idea on what consitutes a "perfect" story with "perfect" components. The weirdest bit of advice I've ever gotten went like this: ". . . suddenly dragons appear and I am jarred." It was an epic fantasy and the ex-editor reading it worked with mainstream fiction. Can't blame him, the comment was just. . . weird.

When I get advice, I take a close look at what the person(s) was talking about. If the advice rings true, I edit, and it's often for the better. If not, I thank the person and go along my way.

I think the best piece of advice came from the same ex-editor who made that dragon comment: ". . . why did Piri [name of the main character] let the guard think she was ten when she's fourteen? Explore all potentials for conflict and you'll make a memorable story."

Wow, that turned into a real teal deer, didn't it? Sorry.

Hopcus
02-23-2008, 05:25 AM
So I decided to follow the rule of three. If three or more people tell me that this or that part is not working for them then I sit down and take a good look at that part and decide what should change.

This seems like a good rule of thumb. My problem is that I never have two people giving me the same advice.

Jo
02-23-2008, 07:51 AM
This immediately brought to mind the Plot-in-a-Line thread were I received tons of useful advice.
The only problem was that nearly every suggestion was different. Some would say it was to vague others would say it was pretty good. I would give it another shot usually resulting in one giant run on sentence, so of-course then people would respond that there's to much info, or I should focus more on a certain point, so I’d slash it back down again...pops to vague again.
All were great suggestions and they were all correct...for that person. Some found it to much of a cliché, others were intrigued by the vague reference to evil in it, everyone took something different from it...and this is what lead me to the one great truth--you can’t make everyone happy.

That thread was riddled with different opinions on what the thread was about. Some opinions were not attached to specific posts for critique, yet I believe they held valuable advice.

A lot of advice I've taken on board has come from other people's errors that relate to my work. And online workshops, like Miss Snark's (literary agent) Crapometers. When I've posted snippets in SYW, the advice offered gives me food for thought. I don't often spit out my food, but will only eat as much as needed. I like to allow time for things to digest, too, hopefully avoiding the sort of online reflux you see from defensive posters. And, as mentioned upthread by Orion, if I have to explain any of my work to a reader, I know I have a clarity problem.

It also brought to mind a quote by the often over quoted King: you can’t please all of the people all of the time but you should at least try to please some of the people some of the time.
So I decided to follow the rule of three. If three or more people tell me that this or that part is not working for them then I sit down and take a good look at that part and decide what should change.

This seems like a good rule of thumb. My problem is that I never have two people giving me the same advice.

In the case of online critiques, the rule of three would work if the people who agreed with the critique said so. Many don't. They don't like posting "I agree". They just nod and go away, thinking what needed to be said, has been said.

KikiteNeko
02-23-2008, 08:05 AM
IMO, there's no right or wrong answer to this. It's been my experience to take ALL advice as optional. I've received some great feedback that I could or could not use. And sometimes negative comments told me that I was doing the right thing. For example, when I workshopped my first novel before a class, one woman said "What is wrong with your character that she has no emotions?" and I glad to see that my carefully-crafted plan to make a seemingly-emotionless character was working. Mind you, I still had to tweak it to make it more believable. < / tangent>

In short, don't dismiss advice just because you don't like it or it seems mean. At least read it, and it's okay to be pissed off about it, but remember that you are the only one who controls the story and that's an advantage your readers don't have with your WIP.

KikiteNeko
02-23-2008, 08:09 AM
PS, regarding the supernatural in a fictional novel. The Lovely Bones is a good example of such a conflict. The story is told from the perspective of a girl who was murdered and is watching her family from heaven. Despite the unusual narration, the book itself seemed believable--her family's reactions were all plausible. Until, late in the novel, the spirit of the narrator possessed the body of a former classmate and "made love" to the boy who used to have a crush on her in high school.

That killed the story for me. Killed it dead. But many readers enjoyed it, and obviously it was published and did very well for itself.

jamiehall
02-23-2008, 08:14 AM
I find it is best to digest advice. Try not to make a decision about it, while letting it lightly sit in the back of your mind. Gradually, you develop an opinion about it which is not your reaction of the moment. Too often, one's reaction of the moment can be based in fear or in pride. With the passage of some time, both fear and pride fall away and you gain a more well-rounded perspective.

gp101
02-23-2008, 09:27 AM
Consider the source. Is it a newbie like most of us here? How much does that person really know? Have you read other posts from that person and have always agreed with their conclusions/statements? If so, maybe they have a point about their criticism of your work. Or is it a person whose posts you think are full of shit? You might want to ignore their advice.

Is the opinion coming from an industry insider, like a pubbed author or agent or aditor? Consider what genre and what books they handle. Would advice for those genres work for your genre? I would guess that most of the time, when advice comes from this group, you'd better listen. Though not always.

The biggest factor: how many mention the same problem? If others don't mention the same problem (or even praise the part that the one critter has a problem with), you might have to chalk it up the fact that you can't please everybody, that one person out of ten just won't like how you did something. Still, consider that lone renegade's pedigree... is it an author or agent you admire or is in the same genre as you? Their opinion might trump the opposite opinion from nine others.

Also consider the point of controversy. Is it mechanics? That might be a matter of taste (sentence fragments vs complete sentences or present tense vs past tense). Is it about "story" as in your example of the critter saying "that would never happen in real life"? Consider the source and your plot. Is the person a cop in real life and is questioning your MO in the story? They probably know better than you. Or maybe you didn't build up to the point in question logically? Did you arrange your story so that most will find this particular juncture plausible? IOW, is it organic, meaning it reasons that from what has happened in the story thus far, this particular event makes sense, or is the natural next step? Maybe you came out of left field with it.

As for generic plausibility issues... anything is plausible if you tackle it right. Dinosaurs can be extracted from amber DNA when explained properly, and interviews with vampires can come across as entertaining because the writing is superior enough that the reader can suspend reality to imagine that situation actually happening. A lot of it is how you explain it, or how you paint it to make it interesting and compelling.

Then, there are those you will never be able to please. In that case, see how many others agree with them before making any major decisions. And always consider the source's sensibilities and tastes.

Sonneillon
02-23-2008, 10:32 AM
Be sceptical about advice that comes from people (especially aspiring writers) who blindly adhere to rules. You know, the ones who condemn every single adverb and adjective, think that back story is automatically bad at all times and in all forms, have intractable views on prologues, declare that omniscient third is of the devil... Knee jerk reactions about technicalities are not helpful.

I tend to overdo adverbs. When I'm called on them, I always take a close look and usually make a change. But not always. Sometimes that adverb conveys exactly the information I want to be there, and in the way I want it to be said. So it stays.

Thanks for that, I thought I was the only one.

Nancy Fulda
02-23-2008, 02:26 PM
When you receive advice regarding your story, whether it's from a friend/coworker, someone commenting on your sample in SYW, or just your own internal editor, how much do you actually use? Reject?

I pay attention to the advice that either (1) seems so brilliant and obvious that I wish I'd thought of it myself; or (2) is repeated by more than two critiquers.

Well, actually, there's also a third category. Critiquers often call me on points that I kind of knew I ought to fix, but that I was hoping I could get away with because actually fixing it would be a lot of work. I pay attention to those comments, too.

Elodie-Caroline
02-23-2008, 03:28 PM
Hi,

When I got my very first crit, last January (2007), it made me cry and I had a bloody good whinge about it here on AW. The person who critted me isn't an AW member btw, but he is a published author and that was my first draft of my work I suppose. I composed myself and then took a good look at my crit, as there was good stuff to be said, as well as the bad. He liked my style, my writing voice and he also said that my characters had depth, so those two things were something to go on with. I also totally rewrote a whole chapter because of the advice he gave me.

In the middle of last year, I asked for beta readers for my reworked story, again, not from AW, just from people on another site that, I am well known on, and whom I knew read a great deal. I only really wanted to know what people thought of my actual story.
I was very lucky, an ex-teacher, who reads as many books as there are days in the year, offered to read my work. I didn't know this lady at the time, but she read the whole of my work in one night and has become my biggest mentor with my work. She corrects anything that I've done wrong, grammatically or punctuation-wise. I can also discuss story plots with her, whether they would make the story better or worse; for instance, we took a fantasy away from my hero, as it wouldn't make him look very nice, even though he is. We changed it into a perception that my heroine made of him instead.
This lady tells me off with some parts, but I know she does it for my own good and it doesn't make me feel like crying etc. She will also explain to me, in words I understand and in great length, how certain things are meant in grammar. I treasure this lady and all of the help and advice that she has given to me.

So, I think it really depends on who is saying what and whether we respect their opinions or not. I don't respect many people, but I certainly respect this very kind and helpful lady. I know that her crits are for my own good and not to make her look and feel superior to me, as I do see this kind of behaviour in many places on the internet.


Elodie