Writing on the Beach: Looking at vs. Listening to Critiques

As I mentioned before, I’m preparing for Pitch Wars. Lots of thinking about revising. Lots of talk about revising on the #PitchWars Twitter feed. Lots of actual revising… Ow.

But there’s one thing I think doesn’t get mentioned enough. It’s something I’ve heard in workshops for years.

Writers should definitely never try to address all the comments they receive. It’s a follow-your-gut business, see how it resonates. There’s no point in trying to implement changes that you don’t feel passionately about yourself, right? Your vision for your story would be compromised.

There’s also this: Sometimes someone can point to a problem and be wrong about what they’ve discovered. For instance, they might think a scene has a pacing issue, that the scene drags. They might say it needs to be cut down or taken out completely. But the problem could actually be that the story is focusing on the wrong character at that moment. Maybe another character has a more interesting conflict in that particular scene. Maybe the conversation in the scene is irrelevant, and there’s something much more important to the plot to talk about (like what just happened in the scene, or scenes, before).

This is why it’s good to consider not just listening to critiques but looking at what they are pointing at. Especially if something doesn’t resonate–there may be some other possibility at play.

Even if you don’t listen to suggestions, keep them close. When you do your own revisions, go back and consider if you’ve addressed the raised concerns in a different way. It’s very fascinating to witness just how subjective this business is!



2 thoughts on “Writing on the Beach: Looking at vs. Listening to Critiques

  1. Oh yes, very subjective. But it’s great to have someone let you know that something is wrong. Otherwise, you won’t go back and see how to fix it 😉


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