Monday, May 4, 2009

No more mishmash!

Sorry about no post on Friday. I was working on edits of my first 2 chapters because a very knowledgeable published friend was going to review them that night and see what he thought. 

I had quite an epiphany as he was talking to me about what was working in my story and what wasn't. My lack of confidence in my own judgement was killing what was good about my story. Because I'm new to writing novels, I kept thinking that I needed to follow most all of the advice readers gave me to make sure that the story was working. If I did what they suggested then their approval would follow. The problem was that, as I followed advice from different sources, what I ended up with was a complete mishmash of what the story should have been. What a mess! 

Just like with this picture, the reader doesn't know where to focus. I ended up with different styles of writing and different genres all mixed together even.

Are we taking everyone's advice no matter how much experience and knowledge they have? Do we not trust ourselves? I'm starting over from the beginning. I'm going to use what works for me. Not everyone will like what I write, and that's okay. They weren't all going to like it anyway. What I have right now doesn't make sense because there are scenes and elements that just don't fit. I'm going back to the original ideas I had and make them work. 


Isn't this better? Keep the random elements at bay. Wish me luck! At least I have the tools to make it happen. The friend said that my writing style was really good. Whew! He was really relieved, and so was I.

30 comments:

Litgirl01 said...

Wowza...awesome, awesome, awesome advice!!!!! I'm thinking everyone should read this post. Actually, I have been thinking a lot about this type a thing lately!

Justus M. Bowman said...

Ask for suggestions, but consider them well before implementing them. That's what I've had to do. Otherwise, I go bonkers, to put it bonkly.

Natalie said...

You have been on quite the ride, dear. But I'm glad you've discovered the issues and can tackle them.

Never let others hijack your story again! It's so hard to find that balance between taking and rejecting crits, but you gotta go with your gut. Good luck:)

Yunaleska said...

Great advice, and definitely something I'll be keeping in mind. The picture said it all. We have to remember we can't please everyone, as you said, and we shouldn't even try. We all have a unique take on the world, a unique voice. We need to let that voice shine through our week.

Cindy said...

I'm sure that was a huge dilemma. Sometimes it takes more confidence to listen to yourself than to listen to other people. It sounds like you're getting it all under control. So keep working and good luck!

Windsong said...

Good luck and great advice! It's good to listen to others who might have a more objective eye, but in the end it all comes down to trusting ourselves.

lotusgirl said...

Litgirl, It's an important thing to learn. Even with the most well intended advice, we can still go wrong in following it. I've also learned what a difference the source makes.

Justus, Yep. be confident in your own vision.

Natalie, Thanks! I'm going with my gut for sure. This has been a great lesson for me. No more hijackers.

Yuna, That's it exactly. Our voice and vision is what needs to shine through.

Cindy, Thanks, I'm feeling a lot more capable of my own power to tell my story.

Windsong, That's so true.

beth said...

Yay for you!!! I know you can do it--you're a brilliant writer, and if you let your ideas shine through, you can do nothing but succeed!

Kelly H-Y said...

Fabulous advice!!!! Good luck to you!

peace, love, and rock&roll said...

Glad it went well with him reading your book! I hope it all works out for you! :D

Ann Victor said...

Great that you could get a professional to look at your work and give an objective view.

When I was also still new to writing novels I came across this quote, which helped me tremendously:

"Walking unfamiliar ground, the new writer hasn't yet learned the only affirmation that truly matters is that which comes from within.

Earn it and the affirmations desired from without--from others--will come."

I can't remember the source, but it is advice that has stuck with and helped me move to the next level or writing, namely, being able to read constructive criticism and still keep the work your own.

Good luck!!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Great post. It's so hard to wade through tons of advice. Congrats on the good read!

PJ Hoover said...

Good luck! And your picture cracks me up. I was looking at it before the post thinking WTF.
Again, great analogy!

Solvang Sherrie said...

Great advice. Sometimes it's hard to know who to listen to. What a great friend to help you trust in yourself again!

Tess said...

What a fantastic post! Man, have I been there before. I'm getting a little better at the 'taking and leaving' critique and try to stay true to my original concept - but you are right, it can be a challenge.

And, what an amazing opportunity to have your work reviewed like that!

lotusgirl said...

Thanks, beth! Coming from you that's nice to hear because you've read my current mishmash. *crosses my fingers and hopes that I can pull it off*

Kelly, Thanks!

A, Thanks. Me too.

Ann, What a great quote! So true! Thanks for sharing it.

Becky, Thanks.

PJ, Glad you enjoyed my mishmash picture! LOL!

Sherrie, Thanks! Yes. It was such a bolstering conversation even though he pointed out lots of flaws too.

lotusgirl said...

Tess. Yes, I feel very lucky, even if it does mean a lot of work for me.

Lady Glamis said...

Lois, I am so happy you are finding your own voice. It's a difficult journey. I am having this problem, too, and might need your support in making me remember to follow my own instincts!

lotusgirl said...

Glam, thanks for all your help. You have been quite instrumental in my finding my voice. I'll be glad to help you any way you need.

Robin of My Two Blessings said...

Great reminder, Lois to follow our own voice. I'll have to remember this when it comes time to have my wip reviewed.

lotusgirl said...

Robin, It's always good to stay true to yourself.

Krista Phillips said...

Love this!

It's hard, because it's a pet pieve of mine when newbie authors (including myself) use the excuse of "voice" for bad writing.

"I don't agree with you, you're just messing with my voice."

Sometimes they are just correcting bad writing too.

BUT, so many times critiquers DO mess with a writer's voice. The BEST critiquers will help build on the good voice you have rather than try to change it to their own.

lotusgirl said...

I agree. Good critters help you build on the good things you do.

giddymomof6 said...

WOW! What an awesome analogy! I loved this! And I bet you're a much better writer than you think! Keep us updated. Jenni

lotusgirl said...

Jenni, Well, he said I was good as I thought. So hopefully I think I'm good. haha.

Jodi Meadows said...

Sounds awesome! Glad to hear things are going well for you and that you're learning so much!

lotusgirl said...

Thanks, Jodi, I'm learning tons. That's for sure. Of course, I have a lot to learn.

Robyn said...

Man, have I ever been there, done that before! I still have to watch myself. My hubby was reading one of my stories and he said, "what is all this?" I replied, "So and so told me to add that, and then someone else said I needed to put that in," He said, "Take it out. It reads better the way you wrote it originally." I haven't confidence enough to think that I can do this and that I need to really ponder what a person suggests. Great post.

lotusgirl said...

It's nice to know I'm not the only one. We have to be confident in our own writing and our own discernment.

JaneyV said...

Lois - this is something I'm guilty of too. I have mish-mashed my way through so much and it's left me bereft of confidence. I'm so glad that your beautiful blooms have been revealed.