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View Full Version : Rewriting to Benefit whom?



BlackFlag
07-26-2011, 09:55 PM
I almost always need to rewrite, but I've noticed recently that I had been rewriting to suit what other peoples opinions were about that piece, some of which wasn't even needed/necessary.

I feel like this kind of thing can really play into how you feel about yourself as a writer and how you feel about what you write. It's almost like a self-esteem issue.

Does anyone having similar feelings or thoughts?

icerose
07-26-2011, 10:00 PM
Sounds like you need to develop your own voice and direction. People pointing out a problem and giving a possible solution does not mean you must rewrite it exactly like that. When you recieve feedback look at why they are saying what they are saying rather than what they are saying. When you have learned the why then you can decide how you handle the feedback and how to rewrite from there.

For example, if someone says they really don't like the voice but it comes down to the fact that they don't like southern accents and your character lives in Alabama. That sort of advice is okay to disregard. However if they say this emotional reaction seems out of place, maybe do this. You look at why they would say that reaction is out of place and either use supportive writing to give it a place or find a more appropriate reaction.

CaroGirl
07-26-2011, 10:01 PM
Why do you have people's opinions about your work that aren't needed/necessary? Are people giving you unsolicited advice?

Only show your work to trusted readers when you feel it's ready for feedback. After 2nd draft is a good time. The feedback you receive, since you ask for it specifically, should be useful. If it's not, reconsider who you're allowing to read your work.

If you get feedback from betas that you don't want to use, don't. It's your work. You decide. Experience and discipline will help you make the right decisions. Also a strong vision for your story. After you receive feedback, but before you make any changes, consider carefully what you want for your story.

WriteStarfish
07-26-2011, 10:03 PM
I'm not sure what stage of your writing you are at- if you are submitting to an agent and rewriting or if you already have an agent or a publisher and he/she is asking you to rewrite. I do know, though, that when someone suggests a revision, it is exactly that- a suggestion. Ultimately, you are the author and therefore you have the best understanding of your work. If you are being told the same thing by multiple people then it is useful to reexamine what you have written and see if what they've said could make your work even better. It can be disheartening to respond to suggestions since writing is something so personal. Sometimes, though, having someone outside of the piece give his/her input can make the work shine even brighter than it originally did. When considering rewrites, ask yourself this question:
"By changing this, is it bringing me closer to my vision?" If the answer is yes and it improves your writing, then go for it. You are still the one that has written it and so you are still a good writer; you've just used the benefit of another's suggestion to improve your writing.

Chris P
07-26-2011, 10:08 PM
As others have said, each of us as writers needs to develop a way to filter out what input is helpful and which isn't. I start off looking for how each comment might be right, try to see the person's point of view, and then make a decision for myself if the comment is actually helpful or not.

One thing I noticed about myself is I get overly critical and imagine what people would criticize if they were to read it, even if they haven't. Some of this is helpful, as I look at my work more critically, but I can also paralyze myself trying to please imaginary people. Write it the best you can, and then get input. Your gut is likely more accurate than you know.

BlackFlag
07-26-2011, 10:45 PM
Thanks for all the advice. I think that I already knew these things, but to hear it from other people make me feel reassured. Thanks again.

icerose
07-26-2011, 10:50 PM
I did want to add that there are so many ways to write a story. Your job is the find the right one for you. You could give ten different people the same basic story line and you'd end up with 10 wildly different interpretations. But you don't want the 10 different interpretations, you want yours. Good luck out there.

quicklime
07-27-2011, 12:16 AM
I almost always need to rewrite, but I've noticed recently that I had been rewriting to suit what other peoples opinions were about that piece, some of which wasn't even needed/necessary.

I feel like this kind of thing can really play into how you feel about yourself as a writer and how you feel about what you write. It's almost like a self-esteem issue.

Does anyone having similar feelings or thoughts?


part of dealing with any critique is learning whaqt to take and what to leave, which isn't always easy. Many crits advise changes that relate to voice or story tastes rather than to actual issues. Not most by any means, but enough that if you don't learn to filter them you will feel like you're chasing your own tail.

If that isn't what you mean, and you find yourself writing to emulate or chase markets, then perhaps it is the issue of "finding your voice" raised earlier.

Undercover
07-27-2011, 12:39 AM
Well I hope it wasn't my crit on the other board BlackFlag. Those were only suggestions, I think I even said in the post, take what works for you and chuck what you don't want. As another one said, use your gut feeling, if there's something that seems like a no no, NO one is telling you to do it. You do it only if you feel the urge, the drive pushing you to move forward somehow. If you think the piece of work, or ms. or whatever it is completed, then you can move on to submission and such.

Plus, you were in non-fiction too which I told you from the beginning that's not my forte, so again my suggestion to you to "rewrite" or "rework" for the reader to see it better. There was a lot of tell vs show in that piece. BUT in non-fiction telling a story like that may just be good the way it is "as is".

*feeling a bit bummed I mighta went overboard with my in depth crit.*

Ari Meermans
07-27-2011, 01:25 AM
Blackflag, it's not a matter of rewriting to benefit anyone; editing and rewriting are for the benefit of the story. Critiques should be taken as advice on how to improve the telling of the story. That and only that. It's up to you to decide whether or not a piece of advice benefits the story and, if it does, how to incorporate it in a manner that best serves your story.

scope
07-27-2011, 02:00 AM
Even though I've been published multiple times, I almost always ask cetain others for advice and help. But I'll only ask same from people I know and respect. Now that doesn't mean I accept everything thrown at me, in fact I wind up accepting very little. But the opnions and advice of others is gives me perspective and sometimes sheds light on things I'm not aware of. So when I agree, I rewrite.

BlackFlag
07-27-2011, 05:14 AM
Well I hope it wasn't my crit on the other board BlackFlag. Those were only suggestions, I think I even said in the post, take what works for you and chuck what you don't want. As another one said, use your gut feeling, if there's something that seems like a no no, NO one is telling you to do it. You do it only if you feel the urge, the drive pushing you to move forward somehow. If you think the piece of work, or ms. or whatever it is completed, then you can move on to submission and such.

Plus, you were in non-fiction too which I told you from the beginning that's not my forte, so again my suggestion to you to "rewrite" or "rework" for the reader to see it better. There was a lot of tell vs show in that piece. BUT in non-fiction telling a story like that may just be good the way it is "as is".

*feeling a bit bummed I mighta went overboard with my in depth crit.*

Nah, it wasn't you. I was just bring up a topic for discussion. I just noticed that a lot of times people have different opinions about a story, so I was really just relating the fact that sometimes its difficult to know which changes to make.

Jamesaritchie
07-27-2011, 08:07 PM
What I write has to please me. If it doesn't, I don't want it published with my name on it. This means if I prefer it the way it is, I change nothing. If I find a suggestion that pleases me even more, I make the change.

It's your work, it goes out with your name on it, so you need enough confidence to say, "No, I prefer it the way it is."

RemusShepherd
07-27-2011, 08:09 PM
What I write has to please me. If it doesn't, I don't want it published with my name on it. This means if I prefer it the way it is, I change nothing. If I find a suggestion that pleases me even more, I make the change.

I'm curious, James: What do you do with a piece that pleases you, but for some reason you can't sell it anywhere? Do you just give up on publishing it?