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  1. Tralala

    Tralala Active Member

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    Who to trust?

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Tralala, Oct 19, 2019.

    I'm about to spend the weekend rewriting my damn-I-thought-that-was-finished novel.

    Had some feedback from writerly people about the opening chapter (too much exposition) *rolls eyes *

    I've made a start, and their suggestions make sense. It's a bit hard, though, to know how far one should go with making changes.

    I've had beta feedback in the past. I was very grateful for it, and learned a lot, but it did result in changes which I later removed.

    I wonder how you all handle this?
     
  2. LazyBear

    LazyBear Senior Member

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    You need to define the target audience and genre, then be specific about it when asking for readers. My style gets overly positive feedback from men who likes surreal comedy and overly negative feedback from women who likes slow paced realism. You can either stick with the target audience who liked it or try to push in another direction. Just don't let trends steer you into an overly crowded concept that will soon become cliché. The best is to find a writer on the same level in the same sub-genre that can give a mutual exchange of constructive observations without holding back on negative feedback.
     
  3. Tralala

    Tralala Active Member

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    Thank you.
     
  4. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Supporter Contributor

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    I strive for a mix of writers and avid readers who consume a lot of whatever I'm hoping to sell, but who aren't necessarily writers. For me it's as much about test marketing as it is polishing, and that gives a pretty good balance of opinion to go by.
     
  5. Tralala

    Tralala Active Member

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    Makes sense.

    I need to get some of them!

    Does it involve the use of sew-shill media? :superyesh:

    I understand what you're saying. I've always been a don't show anybody anything ever kind of writer :unsure:
     
  6. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    The first one to trust is yourself.

    Not the self that says, "It's mine, it's perfect, and I loooooovvvveee it alllllll!!!!"

    Rather, the self that truly cares about the story and its characters and the situation you've gotten them into.

    I had one beta reader who liked that my antagonist was nasty from the word Go. I patted myself on the back and figured I had his initial scenes just right. Then another beta reader poked my balloon by saying the villain (who was pretending to be an ordinary citizen at that point) was way too obvious, and if he acted as badly as I had written him, what was wrong with the male MC that he didn't realize he was Up to No Good? She couldn't respect him at all.

    But-- but-- but!!

    I made myself look at it and had to admit the second beta reader was correct. My MMC was either complicit or terminally stupid, and his interchange with the antag had to be rewritten for the sake of the story.

    It's stronger now, though I didn't like having to do it. I'm glad I did it.

    Make changes as long as it benefits your story. Otherwise, smile politely and keep things the way they are.
     
    Iain Aschendale, Tralala and Lifeline like this.
  7. Tralala

    Tralala Active Member

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    Thanks Catrin. I've been feeling pretty fed-up today. It's gruelling, getting feedback.

    I had moments today of completely losing faith in what I've done.

    I really needed your cheering words :)

    No doubt, tomorrow, I will feel different again.
     
    Iain Aschendale and Catrin Lewis like this.
  8. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Supporter Contributor

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    You understand, don't you that there are several current and former journalists, including myself, who are active members of this Forum?

    You know...I don't know what the hell you do for a living, but I was raised not to denigrate others' professions.

    Not cool.

    Go ahead and warn me if you must, Mods.
     
  9. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Okay, will do. Mod hat on here. Don't personalise this issue, please. Move on.
     
  10. Tralala

    Tralala Active Member

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    I don't understand.

    I was referring to social media. Which I'm really bad at.
     
  11. Tralala

    Tralala Active Member

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    I'm mortified to have offended you. I work in a bookshop.
     
  12. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I laughed because oh my word, I feel you. I'm just now revisiting - can it be for the last time? Really? REALLY? - my own damn-I-thought-that-was-finished novel of twelve years. So yes, I feel you.

    I think it depends on whether the novel stands as it is currently, in its current state. A book can always be better. (Too much exposition in the opening chapter though does sound like a deadly flaw) At some point you have to ask if it's worth it, or if it's already the best book it's ever going to be with the elements you're gonna keep. Maybe the best book it's going to be still isn't good enough for publishing - I think maybe that has to be ok, because you got no other choice.

    But if you feel it isn't the best book it can be yet, and you haven't lost fire for it yet, plough on.

    For myself, I haven't committed to anything yet. I'm still asking myself the same question: is it the best book it can be already? Because if I change too much, it's just gonna be a different book, in which case I might as well just start an actual new book lol. I think I'd only commit to reopening the book if I can see a very, very clear plan that will take me to the end. Otherwise, screw it. I know the book works. Let's see, I guess?

    How you handle it? I think it really depends if this time it's gonna be "just more changes" or is it an actual fix. The fix is worth it. Just more changes? Not so much. Screw that. After all these years, seriously, seriously, screw that to hell and back. I got better things to do! Of course it's a labour of love, but at some point, I do wanna be the author of more than one single book, y'know?
     
    EFMingo likes this.
  13. The Multiverse

    The Multiverse New Member

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    Always trust yourself. On a planet with almost 8 billion people, the taste in literatures is as varried as literature itself. Most important should be your satisfaction with it. If you're happy with the story you wrote and someone suggests changes that completely cgange your stort, unless they are your publisher, you've no real reason to heed the advice. For what is a critic but one who reads quickly, arrogantly, but never wisely.
     

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