Wednesday, September 12, 2012
When to Disregard a Comment
From rude, to ignorant, to right out of left field—like they’d been reading someone else’s book and confused it with mine. These types of comments are easy to flush away, even though they often stick with you.
It’s the ones that are kind and thoughtful and full of respect for your work that make you bite your nails to the quick trying to decide if you should follow it or disregard.
I recently had a comment that had all the makings of a stress induced ulcer, but somehow it didn’t:
My wonderful crit partner, Abby suggested that I delete an entire chapter! What?! Oh no she di’nt! LOL. Now, being on both ends of that type of suggestion, having given similar advice to a crit partner of mine and having been given that advice by Abby, I know she did not offer that advice lightly. To be honest, I only read the first line of her long comment—which went something like this: Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t think this chapter is needed.
I stopped reading there. Not because I was angry or heartbroken that she didn’t love every last inch of my novel. I stopped to think. I ran through that chapter in my mind and although there were some sweet moments with the male lead and his mother, the chapter didn’t add much to the story. Not only that, but it took away tension from the female lead and from the big reveal at the end. It took about 30 seconds to realize the chapter needed to go. I went back and read Abby’s full comment and her insight made it all the more clear that the chapter should go. I don’t regret cutting it.
I know that isn’t always the way it goes with comments given about your work. Some people are WAY off the mark. Sometimes you just can’t or don’t want to see the flaws being pointed out to you. And sometimes, you just have to go with your gut.
How do you all do it? Are you a gutster, letting that gut reaction to suggestions be your guide on whether you yay or nay it? Do you gather up other opinions and then let the majority rule? Or do you take all suggestions thrown at you like a giant magnet? :-)