Wednesday, April 2, 2014

No Guts, No Glory

No matter how well a book is written, a handful of kids will always hate it. Hunger Games is the closest I've ever come to having most of my kids enjoy reading it. I personally love the Cinder series. I think it's incredibly well-written, especially the second and third books, but many of my kids can't get into them. That doesn't mean they aren't good books.

I recently gave my MS for critique to someone who didn't have the same vision I had for my plot and characters. As a result, the critique totally derailed me. Since then, I've been rethinking (and over-thinking) something I was initially excited to write instead of actually writing.

Likewise, a CP of mine on submission right now just received a R&R from an agent. While most of the suggestions were good, it caused him to temporarily lose sight of everything great and strong about his MS. My CP friend is brilliant. He emailed a best-selling author for advice. The advice Mr. Best-Seller gave was stark, sound, and basically boiled down to this: Just because someone gives you advice about your MS, doesn't mean you have to take it. No matter how good an agent, an author, or a CP is, if they aren't a fit for you and your work it's best to go a different direction. 

These last couple months have shed a new light on an old lesson - one I need to have more faith in: Write the novel you want to read. This April, may you all have the confidence, the ambition and the guts to do just that.

Happy IWSG Alex J. Cavanaugh and friends!


  1. That was a wise suggestion. We all have different opinions. Take suggestions with a grain of salt and then do what your gut tells you to do.
    Good to hear from you, Kimberly!

  2. Great post, Kimberly! We definitely all have our own opinions. I personally couldn't get into Cinder but know so many people who loved the series :) But I also have books where I HATED it the first 2 times I tried to read it, waited a year and then picked it up again and had to race to the bookstore for book 2 the day it released. So you just never know.

  3. Write the novel you want to read. Yep.

    I didn't know the third book in the Cinder series was out. Must add to my Reading List!

  4. As for CP's, it's always good to have three if not two. You get a better feel of what is working and what is not. But I also know its not always possible.

    And definitely write what you would read. Passion is everything.

    Hugs and chocolate!

  5. What a great post. Sometimes we're afraid to let an agent or an editor slip through our fingers, but if the fit isn't right it truly is best to go in a different direction.

  6. Thanks for sharing this valuable lesson... hope you're well Kimberly!
    Writer In Transit

  7. I absolutely agree: follow your gut and never look back.

  8. Great post!
    I've felt the same way about some critiques I've gotten ... absolutely and totally derailed. But usually it's for the same reason you mentioned: the other person's vision for the story was not the same as mine.

    That said, when somebody sees a major problem with your WIP, you should probably consider that there really IS a problem there. But most of the time, you should completely ignore their advice on how to fix it and find your own solution.

  9. I would listen to the advice given but ultimately it's the writer's decision then whether to take it. It's your book, and we don't all like to read the same ones :)

  10. This happens to all of us. But if you hear the same thing from several different people, you might want to pay attention.

  11. So true. I've read my MS comments before and thought. No, that's not right. And of course it's bound to happen. The critiquers can't read what's on our minds, and maybe it shows that I'm not showing something right. Or maybe it's just them.

    Either way, you are correct. Don't change cause someone else says so. Change because it's what you're meant to do.

  12. I try to use "truth in numbers" method. I'll send my WIP to at least six CPs and/or beta readers. If one likes or doesn't like something, I'll give the comment a little consideration. But if four or more have the same reaction, I know I need to pay attention.