Thursday, January 29, 2009

Who's Book Are You Writing?

By Nichole Giles

One of the hazards of having other people read your work is the infliction of opinion—or possibly many conflicting opinions—upon the pages you’re sharing. On one hand, it’s extremely helpful to have certain points brought up for discussion. On the other hand, too many differing opinions might cause you to make changes to your work that might or might not affect the outcome of your story. Even if every single person expresses a valid concern, it’s up to the author to decide what happens. After all, it’s your book.

“But wait,” you think. “So-and-so had a good point, but so did whosa-ma-callit. To whom should I listen? And will the other person have their feelings hurt if I chose not to do it their way?”

What your friends, relatives, and facebook buddies say isn’t the question. You—the author—know your characters far better than anyone else. It’ll do you good to remember that. They live in your head, your heart, and your mind. You are their life-breath, and the plotter of their fates. To them, you are god. (Or goddess, whatever the case may be.)

It doesn’t matter who insists on arguing over the smaller details, in the end, only you know the truth of the situation.

Your friends are trying to help you, so don’t forget to thank them. If they’re good friends, they’ll understand why you had to write your book your way. And if they continue to argue, make sure they know you appreciate their point of view, and agree to disagree. If they don’t understand, well, maybe they should write their own books so they can make sure to write it their way.

And your book—with your living, breathing characters—will be brilliant!


Scarlet Knight said...

I totally agree, thanks for the post! Sometimes a suggestion is great, but other times....not so great, but nevertheless greatly appreciated. :)

Nichole Giles said...

Scarlet, it's good to hear from you! I hope you're enjoying your critique group these days.

Last night I stayed up late going through suggestions made by my readers. They caught a lot of little things I missed, and I am so grateful to have them. But in the end, I have to weigh my changes carefully. I wouldn't want to ruin my own story line!

Thanks for commenting.


Keith Fisher said...

I promise I wont argue any more in critque

Nichole Giles said...

I wasn't necessarily talking about you, Keith. =)

We all argue from time to time. The trick is for the writer to decide what's best for his or her book, and go with that, rather than what everyone else thinks might be right.