Tuesday, June 21, 2016

This Way—NO—That Way

What to do when trusted critics give advice that contradicts your sense? Anyone who’s ever asked for opinion on their work has been there.
Early on in my writing for publication I turned down an offer to revise and re-submit from a small publisher. Reason? They wanted a different ending to the story. A perfect and happy hanky-dory ending didn’t suit the story, I thought. It wound up being published by another publisher who asked for revisions, but saw the merit of the ending as it was.
Although I don’t regret staying with my vision then, I would do it differently now. This is how I approach revision suggestions today: I try it.
It’s painful and even feels wrong at times. But I have learned that trying to re-fashion per others’ suggestions is never a waste.
Best case scenario: you love the results.
Worst case scenario: you, and maybe even the suggester, wind up agreeing the re-direction was a dud. I have learned a lot about my stories when revising, even with clenched teeth.
Most likely it will be some combination. But like the Green Eggs and Ham fellow, you will know a whole lot more if you try it.



  1. But I do not like green eggs and ham.


  2. You are absolutely right. I've gotten edits from my editor and thought she was crazy for what she was suggesting, but later came to see she was absolutely right after I tried out her suggestion. You never know until you try.

  3. Right on! Sometimes it works, sometimes not. But if you don't try you'll never know...

  4. Always good advice to try. And also to sit on the advice for a few days (keeps it nice and warm!) before deciding what to do about it.

  5. Yes. That's great. I find that if I take a breath and just try to the suggestion I often like it and if I don't, nothing lost.

  6. No harm in trying. I often rewrite sections trying out first person vs. third, past tense vs. present, etc. Reading the excerpts aloud tells the tale pretty quickly, I find.

  7. Oh, I like this, Mirka. Being open to options can only do us well, and if in the end we don't like the options, we'd be even more sure of our original ending/scene.