Monday, November 01, 2010
MONDAY SANCTUARY: Mulling Over Advice
Having your manuscript critiqued is an important part of the process to publication. And it will be critiqued several times over. By your CPs. By your beta readers. By potential agents. By potential editors.
So how do you handle the critiques? I used to dread them. I used to start shaking when I'd stare at the comments section and see over one hundred line items. My heart would race as I'd see things like "I don't like this character" or "This really slowed down for me."
And, then I turned my thought process around. Now I love a good critique. Because, ultimately, a critique is helpful advice. It isn't putting down your work, it's helping you to improve it. It's helping you catch things that you didn't notice when you were in the thick of writing and buried in your own words.
Does that mean you have to take every piece of advice you receive? Absolutely not. In fact, I highly urge you to read the advice, and then walk away for a bit. Don't open your manuscript and start making changes. Mull over the advice for a bit. Take a few deep breaths. And think it all through. The good and the bad! You may have seen some advice and thought "Yes! That's it! That's a great way to rewrite that paragraph." But, ask yourself if it fits with your overall theme and voice. Ask yourself what other changes this will result in.
After you've contemplated the advice, then open your document and revise. Take the parts that work, and ignore the parts that don't. And always remember ...
It's your manuscript.