Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wisdom on Wednesday: Listening

I've been getting a lot of critique lately along the lines of:

-This is good, but it's quiet.

-This is good, but it's awfully short.

-This is good, but the MC should be more/less defined.


I spent a lot of time thinking, "Yeah, but I wanted to write a quiet book. So that means I'm done!"

Or, "Yeah, but I was aiming for short, so there would be lots of white space - more room for illustrations is good, right? So that means I'm done!"

Or, "Well, I made that MC purposefully vague/detailed, and you said it was good otherwise, so... Party time! I'm done!"

Um... No.

This week I've come to realize that what my amazing, wonderful, patient critters (because my CPs must be among the most patient in the world, because they deal with me and my detailed crits so well) were really saying was:

This is good for the type of book you're writing. But I don't think the market wants this type of book. In order to make this marketable, you need to make it into a different book.

Sometimes, in order to become great writers, we must first learn to be great listeners.

And a few incredible critique partners probably helps too.

What have your critters been telling you lately that you need to listen to?


  1. I'm trying to listen to my partners more and be less stubborn. They told me I was trying to do too much and it took me too many revisions to realize they were right and that my manuscript was too long.

    If you like your story, maybe try to make it less quiet and have more conflict. Developing this might make the difference between it not being a book that will work and one that will and that won't be too short.

  2. I also think it's okay to just send your nice stories to your mum and keep learning until something wow comes up. Your newest stuff is always going to include things you have just learned and be more current with what readers want. It can take seconds to come up with a brand spanking new idea and just learn from the WIP you have flogged to death, n'est-ce pas? My brother had that philosophy when he used to make music too.