Monday, August 8, 2011

What do you do when what you think is good, isn't?

Since I started writing, I have learned A LOT. And that doesn't even remotely describe how far I have come. Like a billion miles...seriously. I occasionally pull open that first manuscript and cringe, wondering how in the world I ever thought I could do this.

But here I am, about 5-6 years later (I honestly do not remember exactly when I started that first story) and I know I can do it. I have done it. And I continue to grow and learn and get better.

But then I have a days like yesterday and today.... Feedback from fellow writes makes me question whether or not I have a clue.

I really liked what I had. My gut told me it was awesome.

There is so much conflicting writing advice out there and it can be so so confusing. The best advice is to go with your gut...but what if your gut doesn't have a clue? What if your gut thought what you did was fab? Now what?


  1. I'm in the middle of this dilemma right now. I was finally happy with my query, and my CP's agreed it was a winner. Then, one of them gave it to her crit group so I could get feedback from people who hadn't read the ms... and they (very constructively) hacked it apart. And, I'd already sent a few out. So now I have no idea if I'll EVER be able to pitch my novel in a way that makes sense and grabs a person's attention, because it took me a year and half to get to the version they pulverized!*Sigh*

  2. Well, perhaps the answer is a combination listen to your gut, process the feedback, stew for a few days, review your gut feelings - and just send it out.

    The reason only the Author can write a query is because only the author knows what the major points of the novel is. A critter can say it reads flat, or the character isn't engaging enough, or there doesn't seem to be conflict; and the author should take that feedback into consideration. But the exact info to sell the novel has to come from the author.

    So, go with your gut, after considering all info. Really; who knows what will catch the attention of the Agent/editor/publisher. Your query could be perfect the way you wrote it, and still have a hard time finding an agent willing to take a risk on the novel itself.

    This is advice I've given myself; b/c I've changed my query to match several different sets of feedback. I've spent over two years on my query, and submitted it to several venues for critique. I rarely get the same type feedback twice. *shrugs*

    So now I read agent advice on what criteria should be included in a query and ask people who have read at least portions of the novel if they think the query reflects the novel premise/content.

    Like editing and revising a novel/short story, eventually you have to like what you've done and send it out into the world.

    Just my 2 cents worth. You've sold more than one book Stephanie; you must know what works for your novels :)


  3. Well. It happens to all of us. And remember--no single piece of writing is going to please everybody.

    And sometimes, we're just... too close. I remember sending one of my books through my crit group, and everything was going along fine until I posted the chapter where the heroine and her dog get attacked by a vicious dog sent there to kill her. Heh. God knows why, but I'd written the scene from her dog's POV. (go ahead and laugh, that's why I'm sharing) Needless to say, it got lots of criticism, and I ended up re-writing all of it. Now it's much stronger written from the heroine's POV.

    So see? I bet whatever your CP had to suggest, the piece of yours she critiqued was in much better shape. ;)

  4. Gina, queries are awful. Hate hate hate them.

    Piper, so true. Just sucks when my gut told me something was good and catchy and then others don't agree. And my character was not engaging enough. I consider the course (a man who has never read romance or women's fiction) but still. It does make me reconsider the opening chapter.