Good Morning Everyone,
Are you one of these people who listen to everything anyone tells you? I am. Is this good? It maybe, but more often than not it isn't. Why, you say? Because you are the only one who knows what you are trying to say, or make your characters say. When you listen to other people, they can lead you away from your voice.
For years, I listened to contest judges, critique groups, chapter members and tried to do everything they told me to do, making my writing better in some ways, but totally losing my way. I didn't have a voice of my own, and there's the crux of the matter. I found myself trying to write like everyone else, which only made my writing sound like everyone else.
In defense of my early critique groups, all of us were unpublished and we were all learning. We had help from our published peers at times, and I'm not faulting them either because they couldn't follow us through our stories to make each of us stay on track.
An aspiring writer must get some backbone and stick up for what you think is right for your story. If it's not a romance, don't let someone make you turn it into one. If someone says you can't have sex in your story or you have to have sex in your story, and you don't want to do it that way then stay true to yourself.
Do you listen to anyone? Of course, you do. I prefer to listen to those who make me think rather than those who tell me what to do. I like to hear what's wrong with my work, how to fix the problem, but doesn't tell me how to do it.
Also, I recommend that if they aren't willing to listen to you run the other way. If they think they know your story better than you do, they are wrong. You know your characters and what makes them the way they are better than anyone.
This article was posted in MARA MATTERS in April, 2008 by Sandy Marshall.
Thank you for reading. See you next Sunday.
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