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Thursday, June 17, 2010

To take advice or not to take advice. That is the question.

Several times now I’ve stressed the importance of getting beta readers and crit partners, but I’ve never talked about how to decide what advice to take.

If you’re just starting out and you haven’t found your voice yet, there’s no shame in taking all the advice and trying it out.  You’ll learn quickly what works for you and what doesn’t. 

And there’s also absolutely no reason TO take all the advice you’re given.  Unfortunately everybody is going to have a different vision of where you’re going.  Some will agree with yours, others won’t. 

The best thing I can tell you to do is to read ALL the advice and sleep on it.  Take as long as you need to really digest what they’re telling you.  Even if you completely agree with the advice, take some time.  You’ll find that you may not agree with it, or not completely, after you’ve thought about it for a while or just the opposite, you’ll find that that advice you thought was complete bunk was PERFECT. 

Sometimes you may even find that the advice is great, but it’s just not going to work with your story.  Sometimes you need an unreliable narrator or you want to have a hero/heroine that’s unlikeable. 

There is no cookie cutter in writing.  Everyone’s story should be different.  SO while you should take in all the advice you’re given the true skill to writing is determining which advice to take and which to leave on the wayside.