1. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    A Writer's Nightmare of Feedback

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Reggie, Dec 3, 2010.

    Have you ever started a novel, completed it, got it analyzed and even received feedback from your publisher, where they return a nightmare full of comments back to you? Therefore, you still think that the concept of your book is valuable to you and want to rewrite the entire novel, so that the publisher would finally give you positive feedback. Has this ever happened to anyone? In other words that your reviewer finds your writing (not the concept itself) so terrible that you either thought about giving up writing or rewriting the entire book.

    I’m not in the publishing stage, (though I look forward to), but I feel that my novel could be written better, so I was thinking about writing the entire book but use the same idea of it. Do you think it will improve a writer’s chance of getting it published?
     
  2. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    I don't know whether or not it will improve your chances, but it's not unknown.

    Established writers will sometimes find an idea in their own slush pile, and rework it with their more experienced eyes.

    For that matter, more prolific writers have even had PUBLISHED works that they've taken the premise from and turned into a whole new creation.

    -Frank
     
  3. Michael Daaboul
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    Michael Daaboul Member

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    What I have been told is that publishers don't want to see the same 'type' of novel again if they have rejected it.

    Maybe sending a taster to the publisher would of been a better alternative?
     
  4. eden baylee
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    eden baylee Member

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    Reggie, I would not automatically rework your entire m/s. What did the publisher say was wrong with it? Was it grammar, plot, unbelievable characters? Do you have a critique group who can read it and provide you with feedback? If it's grammatical, then it may require an editor. If it's more serious, then concentrate on rewriting those parts that have problems. Have someone you trust give you brutal, honest critique, and then persevere. A good friend of mine , who is a published author gave me an invaluable piece of advice --- You need to believe in your work - sometimes criticism is just that - and it can be very subjective.
    What will get you published is persistence, more so than talent. Stick to it. Eden
     
  5. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Lagacey, a member who comes on (I'm not sure if he still come on), seems to be my only critique. He points out some good things I need to work on. Here is some of his response:

    I read many times, which seems appealing to me. My favorite book is "Wife," which has some colorful dialogue and scene description.

    I tried seeking friends who is willing to help me fix these problems listed above, but they are either too busy or don't feel like reading.

    I know my grammar is bad, but I have no problems fixing it, and it's a minor issue, so the grammar errors can easily be bypassed.

    Someone else told me that my characters are too flat when someone read about a girl in the MC's dream. She is not mentioned in any other chapters, so it would be hard for me to "round" her out, especially if the character is in the dream.

    My publisher told me to send the manuscript to her, but I got scared when Lagacy pointed out my "Nightmare of Feedback.." I am thrilled to finally receive feedback, but wanted to take the book further by having my publisher to receive the manuscript without encountering these problems again. So by reviewing the comments, I thought he was implicating that I should just rewrite the entire book again. To answer your last question, I don't have a critic group.
     
  6. SRCroft
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    SRCroft Member

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    Critiques

    First the comments seemed rude, at least the part you posted. It isn't about your writing. Your working hard and deserve respect for your effort. Wasn't quite necessary to berate you as a writer, even if you have a lot of problems. It sounds like you need revisions, maybe quite a few. Every scene you need to ask questions to yourself, like is this necessary, does it add tension, does it move the plot forward? Keep reading and writing, but especially read books on writing fiction, like the Great Fiction series.

    Still, accept criticism with an open heart and mind, with peace that the best writers all see it. But, don't let a person slip over the edge where they are disrespecting you. Especially ones that are being assumptive of who you are. It doesn't make his critiques wrong, just very bad form.

    That said, I don't know the back story of you two working together. Still, if he was getting frustrated he should have just asked not to help or just stopped.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Every critique is an opportunity to improve, and continual improvement is what every writer (or everyone in any skilled profession, for that matter) should strive for.

    Of course, not every critiquing point should be implemented. Nearly all of them, with the exception of well-defined points of gtrammar or spelling, will be an opinion, and therefore can be taken with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, you can learn a loty by considering every point carefully, even those you end up setting aside.

    There are two things that will always set you back. One is being thin-skinned. If you become emotionally devastated because a critiquer didn't think your writing wasn't perfect apart from a couple of easily-polished smudges, you won't get very far at all. Publishers will tell it like it is - if you're lucky. More often you'll get a vaguely-worded rejection that gives you no clue what to improve, and you'll get quite a few rejections before you ever get an acceptance letter.

    The other fatal flaw is arrogance. It's really the other side of the same coin. If you think your writing is the greatest thing since the invention of the Internet, and dismiss every criticism out of hand, you'll bask alone in the false light of mediocrity forever. So keep an open mind. Even hostile, mean-spirited critiques may contain truths worth considering and learning from.

    So don't get discouraged or fearful. Get challenged, and get determined to improve.
     
  8. eden baylee
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    eden baylee Member

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    per Cogito - Nearly all of them, with the exception of well-defined points of gtrammar or spelling, will be an opinion,

    Reggie, re: your line " I know my grammar is bad, but I have no problems fixing it, and it's a minor issue, so the grammar errors can easily be bypassed. "

    I must disagree with you on the above point and go back to what Cogito said about this. In order to fix bad grammar, you have to know what is wrong with it. If you can fix it easily, then DO it. You should certainly do it before submitting to a publisher. Bypassing grammatical errors may be fine if you have a few, but if your manuscript is littered with them, then the meaning of your story will get lost. Consider it a first impression to someone who is reading your work. Each time that person stumbles upon an error, it will pull him/her out of your story, making it difficult to have a good read.
    You want your reader to think, "Wow, what a great twist in plot!" or "Love this character." These thoughts will motivate your reader to continue. You don't want your reader to think, "That's spelled incorrectly, "He used the wrong word here," or "I don't understand this sentence." You get enough of these, and your reader will be frustrated and put down your book.

    Work on the grammar. You may have a great story, but it's important to learn the mechanics of how to string words together properly Your writing deserves that.

    Pick up a copy of the book Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print, by Renni Brown and Dave King.

    Are you doing all these things correctly? I think there is a lot to learn from it.

    Good luck and persevere. It's a long journey and there is much to learn. Keep an open mind when it comes to criticism. To paraphrase Cogito, grow a thicker skin. I am sure there will be many rejections, but it will help you improve your writing over time.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm confused... how do you already have a publisher for this, if you haven't sent them the ms yet?... have you had other books published by this house, but this is a new one, or what?

    and if they've published a book [or books] of yours already, why would you be fearing negative feedback from them on the new book?

    what am i missing here?
     
  10. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    If a publisher has made the time and took the trouble to send you a detailed critique then that is a 'positive' (he/she ,unless you paid for it, is under no obligation to do so).
    If they were not interested, you would have received the standard 'thanks, but no thanks' reply (or) worse still 'No reply'
    If I were you, I'd send a short note (I reiterate SHORT note) back to the publisher thanking them for their trouble and tell them that you are taking what they have said on board.
    It is of course their opinions, Look at what has been said and then make up your own mind.
     
  11. Ennael
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    Ennael New Member

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    I think Reggie that if a publisher read your book and gave you feedback he's most likely very interested. I know critique isn't always nice to get - given the fact you put all this work in it - but you can get used to it and turn in a positive direction.
    I have been in your shoes and when I get m/s back I start changing stuff around IF I agree with the feedback.
     
  12. SRCroft
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    SRCroft Member

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    Hemingway said all first drafts are "p:eek::eek:p". If you have a good concept and your the way you wrote it sucks, you are on the sameand right track, that all good authors get too. Just keep revising and keep moving. That's what makes the difference between the 1% who publish and the 99% who don't.
     
  13. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    I had other books published, but every since I quit writing more stories, it seemed that my writing is out of style. But I am still looking foward in bringing my writing style back to life. Maybe this is why I joined the site, is to help me continue to write again.

    Well, I am fearing that after I posted my peice for critique on this site, I received several nightmare comments (which is perfectly fine, and it really don't bother me to try to fix them), and I thought for a minute that I will never get another book/novel published again. After reading Cogito's message above, I should let aside my fear and be more open-minded in the long run. And I just want to apologize if I did lash out.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    were your previous books published by a traditional/paying house, or some variety of vanity press?

    i agree with cog that you should ignore your fears and just keep writing...
     
  15. twopounder
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    twopounder Member

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    Michael Crichton's first two drafts of Jurassic Park were utterly rejected by his publisher, even after he had become a successful author. They both involved the story told exclusively through the eyes of Tim, instead of transitioning between multiple characters.

    The third attempt was a New York Times best seller, became a block buster movie and spawned the only sequel he would ever write.

    Giving up is the worst possible choice you could make. Try the manuscript to some close friends and ask for their opinions. Editors mean well, but can get caught up in the details. Your friends can tell you what feels wrong about the story beyond grammar.

    Just my thoughts on the matter :)
     
  16. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The guy who gave you feedback sounds extremely rude. Don't stand for it - he's questioning your integrity as a writer. Don't let anyone snatch away your dreams - ok, so someone gives you neg feedback, fine, prove them wrong! Every punch is an opportunity to prove yourself and come closer to that dream, and not a reason to give up!

    However, do correct your grammar. I'm personally highly critical and poor grammar would drive me nuts. I was reading a friend's film script, and because it was still work-in-progress, plus English isn't her first language, it was littered with typos, and that was enough to lift me out of the story and at times, made me giggle rather inappropriately. You don't want that. Poor grammar pulls the quality of your writing down.

    Maybe it's worth having a proof-reader or pay an editor to look over your work? But whatever you do, don't be too afraid to try! You've never truly failed until the moment you give up, because once you give up - that's it. That's the ultimately failure. That's not the same as being realistic - just do your very best, and see where it takes you. For as long as you're still writing, you haven't failed, because you're still running for your dream.

    And btw, I'm thinking of starting up some kind of business/service with giving writers feedback, so I could practise on yours if you wanna send me it :) I'm already gonna read 2 stories from 2 users on this forum though, so I'll be slow. But I'd be interested.
     

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