Process of Writing: Handling Advice

The fact is every writer needs critiques, needs advice.  How you handle it, though, determines whether you become a better writer or collapse into a weeping ball of…tears. Hm, little dramatic. Those were close to my two extremes. I didn’t always collapse–not that anyone could see, that is. But I did tend to reevaluate myself to extremes. Usually not with writing, although I did spend a lot of time trying to seem very grown up and mature.

Time and patience would’ve brought me there in due time. =) But recently I was reminded of my reactions to feedback after I a recent critique on my first chapter Marianna. The writer will, for now, remain anonymous.

Hi Jaron,

I’ve read part of your script and, while interesting, I see no connection to Pilgrim’s Progress.
What are your plans for this script?
Now, before that would’ve been a pretty harsh blow–at least that’s how I would’ve taken it inside, and maybe started completely over from the beginning just to meet those expectations. Instead I decided to look at it somewhat objectively. First, they didn’t read the whole thing…which is something I have a bit of an issue with. I’d rather the person read the whole chapter before submitting feedback, but at least they were honest.
It does raise a few points worth noting. First, I’m a methodical person. It takes me a while to get to the point. My purpose for the first chapter was to really introduce and get to know the characters, but in doing that I made my reference to the previous timeline so subtle that perhaps only I, or someone who thinks like me, could recognize them. To someone like this individual it seemed like just a good story. Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegory–everything represents something else. Apparently I’m not too good at that. But instead of ripping my draft to shreds, I’m just going to insert more overt references to what I’m trying to get at. I still want to keep the feel subtle while introducing most of the characters that will be in the story from here on. We’ll see how that goes.
I guess my point is, advice is good as long as you take it with a level head. Know what you want, and what you hope to do…but also recognize when your purposes could be helped along by a few changes.  Well that’s all I’ve got for this week. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!
-J

 

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