View Full Version : Don't know what to do - help?

01-16-2008, 05:12 AM

01-16-2008, 05:16 AM
Are your family members also best-selling authors?

Go with your gut. Friends and family usually don't make the best critiques, sorry to say. Try posting here in SYW or in the beta reader forum.

aka eraser
01-16-2008, 05:16 AM
You're the creator of the work. If the suggestions don't work for you, thank the person for their time and tell them you'll consider their suggestions. Then consider their suggestions. Then reject them.

Devil Ledbetter
01-16-2008, 05:16 AM
Write it your own way. There is a difference between constructive criticism and taking over creative control. It sounds like the second person has done the latter.

01-16-2008, 07:08 AM
Okay, so I gave my manuscript to two people (both family). One corrected small things here and there and said they liked it. The other added a lot and liked it, but I feel the person completely changes the tone in some places. I told them this and they disagreed but I still don't believe them. They ALSO said that I was formal in places and that theirs works better. Now I'm all for critiquing and welcome it, but I don't like my sentences changed completely. I really don't know what to do. I don't know if I should just change my whole wording to what the second person corrected or if I should just keep it at what I originally had. I'm also afraid that if I do one or the other it keeps my novel from getting read by agents when I send it in.

:cry: What do I do????? Help!!

I did the same thing but was not in any form shape or size corrected on my book other than spelling errors the printer (yes printer) made.

This is your book, you do what you want, the story goes as you envisioned it and that is how it's suppose to be.

Look at it this way, when you goto a movie and you like it and then the ending comes and they shoot the good guy dead... you know you would disagree and change it so he lives if you had the choice... its human nature to want to change events. This is your story and the fact is not everyone will agree with what happens in a story and thats just the facts of life.

nancy sv
01-16-2008, 07:15 AM
Sometimes those suggestions are great - they make you go back and REALLY LOOK at what you wrote. But ultimately, it is YOUR manuscript and you have decide which suggestions to take and which to reject.

01-16-2008, 07:53 AM
Exactly, that's all you have to think of them as, suggestions. Do whatever is right for you in the end. What they say is only opinion, not what you have to stick with.

01-16-2008, 09:11 AM
Can you imagine going into a Painter's studio and she asks you, "so, look at it. What do you think?" Would you ever consider picking up a paintbrush and changing something? "Well, its great. But I think it looks better with a cute little puppy right here next to the lake...a happy puppy!"

Can you imagine what would happen to your face?

When you read someone elses work you can critique it all you want, give suggestions, make notes, etc. but changing the pace of it? rewriting parts of it? lol.

Its a no brainer here. Take your story the way you wrote it. Consider the suggestions. Make decisions. Tell your family member/friend that she didn't get the point of reading and critiquing....you weren't looking for a co-author!

Linda Adams
01-16-2008, 03:41 PM
First, thank them for helping. Then don't show any revisions to them.

Then set aside the whole thing, comments and all, and wait a week or so you can look at them with a fresh out and without the emotion. Then review every single markup with a fresh eye. Correct anything that you instantly agree with, since there's usually some of those. For any of those that are clearly way off base, just pass on those. But there will likely be a lot in between. Try thinking not about the changes these people made but why they made them. If someone revised a sentence, for example, it may be worth relooking at the sentence to see if it's doing the job. Use those markups as a way to flag areas that potentially need work--just not necessarily the recommended work.

It's very important you stay in control of the story and keep your vision of it. Yes, other people may not like certain aspects of it, which is fine. It doesn't necessarily mean it's a call for revision. It could simply be their personal taste versus yours. I had someone tell me in an early crit that (very sweeping statement here) dialogue didn't move the story forward and I should cut it all out. You have to learn what to take and what to pass on.

01-16-2008, 03:45 PM
My suggestion would be to go back in time and not set yourself up to be critiqued by friends and family. Do it your way. Find a non-biased beta to read your work. Post it here in SYW. Just don't, for the love of God, show friends and family. They will either pipe up with, "Oh...I loved it! You're great." or "It's okay, but I can fix it." You set yourself up for a fall from the very beginning.

01-16-2008, 07:22 PM
For myself my betas are my best friend and gf. They are blunt and honest and have very different perspectives. Which is good because sometimes I get attached to non-essential parts and they smack me around and ask my questions like why X is important.

But at the end of the day I know I'm still the director of the show and I call the shots. I would remember their comments because a year from now you might agree with them.

Momento Mori
01-16-2008, 08:16 PM
I really don't know what to do. I don't know if I should just change my whole wording to what the second person corrected or if I should just keep it at what I originally had.

Right now I think you're too close to the manuscript to make a decision one way or another. You obviously don't agree with all of what the critiquer has said (which is fair enough), but you seem to be getting yourself upset about what needs to be done and I don't think it's wise to edit a manuscript if you're not more detached.

So my advice in the first instance would be to put your manuscript and the critiquer's comments in a drawer for a few weeks and forget about them. Work on something else, read books, watch tv - whatever, just get to a point where you're not thinking about the manuscript every couple of seconds.

Once you're feeling calmer, take a deep breath and take both documents out of the drawer. Re-read your manuscript from start to finish, then take another look at what the critiquer's said. Consider the comments in line with what you were setting out to achieve with your story - if you think it fits in, then incorporate it; if you don't, then don't. Only you know what you're trying to do with your novel and only you can make the final decision on what comments to take.

Personally, unless your family members are themselves published writers, I don't think it's a good plan to let them take a look at what you're working on. A better solution may be to find a writers group (whether on line or 'real life) and run a few chapters (particularly chapters or scenes you're unsure of) past them. The SYW Forum here may be a good place to start.

As a separate suggestion, to the extent you're asking someone to critique your work, it might be a good idea to set down the parameters of what sort of comments you're looking for from the outset. That way the critiquer knows what you want and you know what to expect.

I'm also afraid that if I do one or the other it keeps my novel from getting read by agents when I send it in.

You can't worry about that. Seriously, if you get into that way of thinking, you'll drive yourself nuts. All you can do is write the best manuscript you possibly can and get it to a point where you don't think there's anything more you can do with it. If an agent loves it, then that's great. If they don't, then if you're lucky you'll get some feedback that will allow you to improve it before sending it off to more agents and if you're unlucky, then you just have to chalk it up to experience and get on with your next manuscript.