Monday, November 8, 2010

Pick and Choose Revision

It's impossible to please everybody with a single book. The first time I met somebody who didn't absolutely adore Twilight, I was slightly in shock.

Me: *gasp* You didn't feel the passion in her writing?

Them: Meh. It was sloppy.

Me: *gasp*

Same thing with Hunger Games, when I finally got the guts to read something everybody told me was really dark. I loved it, of course, and then met yet another person who said, "Meh."

It's easy for me to think, "What's wrong with you people? This is genius! Brilliant stuff!"

But people have different needs, different perspectives. That extends to literature as well as everything else in life.

That's why you should always take revision suggestions with a grain of salt, EVEN if they come from an agent. Of course, give them a little more weight if they come from your dream agent! Take a serious look at them. But don't lie down and take every single revision suggestion from all two dozen of your beta readers.

Why? Because you'll go insane. They won't even agree with each other half the time. What one person thinks is truly poetic, another will think is "trying too hard." What one person thinks is stunning characterization, another will label cliche or "bad original."

In the end, you've got to go with your gut. Feedback is priceless. But the revisions will all be yours. Make sure you own them before you implement them, or you'll end up with a book even you don't want to read.

 Don't forget to enter my 100 followers contest for a chance to have your whole Nano novel beta read by yours truly. :)

And don't miss author Roni Loren talking about What Makes Romance Awesome on the Operation Awesome blog.


  1. So true! Right now, I'm receiving conflicting advice about the mc of a story. I might have to tone her down a little because in the beginning, she's hard to like. I mean, she's an assassin. Some people like the beginning chapters, others don't. I'm going to let the story sit a little before making a decision.

  2. Yup all true. I think the main thing is to strengthen the story the way YOU want to tell it. I tend to go with the the notion that if the suggestion makes sense (or my gut tells me to go with it) I do. But you are right, you could drive yourself insane trying to please everyone in the long run.

  3. Nicole, that sounds so cool! But yeah, an assassin would be hard to make likable. I have a similar problem with my female MC in the early chapters because of her job. She has to manipulate people for work, which makes her not-so-likable. But I think showing how conflicted she is over it will be my golden path.

    Wow, I hope I get to hear more about your book. I've never read anything about a female assassin. It sounds exciting.

    Lindsay, you know it! If you took all my suggestions, it would probably drive you crazy. ;) Got to keep that lovely voice of yours! But it is nice to get the suggestions in the first place. It gives our guts something to respond to besides the comfort cookies we ate yesterday.

  4. You're so right - yeah you know that, now you know I agree, but.... I read Hunger games and though I could see it was a great book, it was too dark for me - too much pain. Proves your point.

    As for cristism, I find it like many things in writing and life - listen to others, but keep your own perspective too.

    I paid a professional editor to look at the first half ( all I could afford) of my ch 1 and rejected a couple of her suggestions because - one didn't fit with my voice and the other cut out the main point of the paragraph.

    I hope you can check out ch 1 of my novel on my site.

  5. What a great post and so true! Yes feedback is priceless, but when you do end up with conflicting advice, you have to go with what you feel works.

  6. so so true - I give more weight to the things that more than one person point out...because chances are if a lot of people are agreeing on something, they might have a point. Gotta be open to constructive criticism...because as writers we get so close to our stories and fall so in love with them that sometimes we don't see where the problems lie. If you aren't open to making changes, you won't improve.

    But you are totally right, sometimes you just have to go with your gut. Bottom line, it's YOUR story - you need to do what you feel is best for it.

  7. Excellent point! Everything is subjective and you need to follow your gut.

  8. Absolutely! that's why I really only have a select few betas who write the kind of books I enjoy reading- I know they'll have 'the right' take on what I'm writing and they're also my target audience. Having too many beta's who all enjoy different kinds of genres more than others will result in LOTS of different kinds of feedback and in that case, yes, you really only go with what speaks to you or go insane. Great post!


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