Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Take Advice with a grain of salt.

As a writer, you are going to hear advice from everyone. Almost all of it is well meaning, and much of it is good. However, it may not always apply to you or your current scene. Take everything with a grain of salt and really weigh out whether or not it is really applicable.

Case in point.

I'm writing a scene where my character has been blindfolded and tossed in a car.

A critiquer suggested my scene did not feel real enough because they didn't get enough description of the surroundings.

Well, if I had taken that advice at face value and rewrote the scene detailing the car, it's interior, as well as the desert landscape the car was driving through, I would have gone out of my POV.

The advice was well meaning and did help to remind me to use the other 4 senses, but would have been wrong to take at face value.

Remember with your POV, when following a character in 1st or 3rd limited, you can only be intimate with that character. If they can't see, your narrator shouldn't be seeing and describing things either.

Now, just because that advice wasn't applicable in this situation, doesn't mean I couldn't take something from it.

Remember we have 5 senses and need to use them all when writing.

Though this character I wrote was blindfolded and kidnapped, she could still sense other things. Wind buffeting against the car, bumping and thumping of the ride, the direction of voices all around her, the direction the car turns. All of this can still be described to the reader to help complete the scene.

So really look at advice you get from critiquers or anyone in general. See what you can take from it and if it really applies. Use it or not, that's your choice.

13 comments:

L.T. Elliot said...

I always give myself 2 days of reflection before making changes. Sometimes longer. And usually I come round to seeing what the critiquer meant--and then make my decisions based on what I think is best. Great post, Katie.

Jessica said...

I think it's so important that a writer realizes they have a choice, and that everything is subjective. Good post, Katie!

Deb Salisbury said...

When you wrote "more details," my first thought was more details of the inside of the trunk - hot, stinky, sandy, loud, and generally nasty. ;-)

Love your blog's new look!

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Critique is so necessary. Ultimately it's my choice what I use, but I value the perspective and usually incorporate the suggestions.

Elana Johnson said...

Great advice. Critiques are so hard to get, because we really want to be able to please everybody. Staying true to the story is important. :)

Jenna said...

So true!

Susan R. Mills said...

This is so true! I've had crit advice that I felt was way off base. We all have to be careful when listening to advice.

Theresa Milstein said...

Ah, the five senses! When I teach elementary school children, I always remind them to use all five senses. In fact, when I taught a creative writing class to middle school students, that was one week's writing prompt.

And I also have a scene where a girl is kidnapped, tossed in a car and blindfolded. I'm going back to see if I made use of her other senses. Thanks!

Noelle Nolan said...

Being a writer myself, I receive advice from everyone, but I know I don't have to take their advice if I don't want to or I can if it could help out my writing career.

Eric said...

Great post. You are right though, that even if you can't do exactly what the critiquer is saying, there is still benefits to their input. Like adding in description from the other senses. Nice job.

Cher Green said...

Katie,

I'm passing on the Sunshine Award to you. You may pick it up at my tarot blog, Tarot Guidance.

KM said...

I've gotten some differing criticisms that I found confusing at first. It always helped me to count how many times I got the same criticism - did more than one person say the same thing? I get this sometimes with my descriptions. I had somebody tell me that I had way too much, but then five other people said they loved it, that they felt like they were really there. So, yeah, you're right - see if the critique works for you.

cisco said...

i like ur blog really its so good