Reviews (Part Two)

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category: ,


One of the most frustrating things about getting reviews or critiques about your work is what to do if you disagree or if you get conflicting information.

I recently had both situations happen to me. I got three new reviews for Chapter One from the novel workshop I am a part of. I had one reviewer tell me that I had too much detail. Basically that I should take out the "narrator" voice telling the story only from the characters perspective. Great advice I thought. Well then the very next day, I had another great review tell me that it needed MORE detail and more descriptions. More internal thoughts from the characters. So, I was stuck - what do I do? Take out or add in? I had a third review tell me that only certain parts needed more detail then other parts needed to be taken out.

So what did I do? I printed out all three reviews and hung them up around my desk. (Just for easy reading). Then I opened up Chapter One and began to read through it, with the mindset that I was a reviewer, not the writer. This is hard to do as often times I get stuck on a scene that I just love - but in reality I know it shouldn't be there. My "notes" folder is full of scenes and even whole chapters that are great, but they just don't work in the story and had to be taken out.

Luckily, my reviews were done with "line by line" edits so I was easily able to find where they thought needed more or less detail. Did I do every single edit suggestion they put in front of me? No, that would be impossible. If I agreed with their suggestion - on a line by line basis, not on the entire chapter - I changed it. If I didn't agree, I would at least take a moment to find out why I disagreed. Is it just because I really like that part or was there another reason (like that part absolutely had to be there to set up the next chapter - that obviously the reader didn't know about yet). I had to be really honest with myself.

However, in the end, I was spurred to continue on to edit chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, AND 6 again! I added over 5,000 words but I am certain I took out just as much! The point is that I took out all the things that were not needed and added in the things that were.

That is the great thing about reviews. I improved 6 chapters based on a review for chapter one. I took their suggestions and advice and carried it through the next few chapters. I didn 't wait for them to read those sections, I merely trudged on. Of course, if they do review the chapters and they have more suggestions, I will do the process over again of seeing how they can be improved. That's the wonderful (or worst) part of revising/editing - you're going to edit a scene many times before it's good to go.

With the major re-editing of this first 6 chapters (which morphed chapter 7 into it, so chapter 7 was basically deleted) - the now Chapter 7 is being written from scratch! All new stuff is being added. The idea brewing in my head will add a huge dinamic to the story and new relationships for the characters. To give you a little hint - what is an adventure without a bit of fire?

1 Response to "Reviews (Part Two)"

SM Blooding Says :
February 18, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Getting reviews and figuring out what to use is hard sometimes, but in the end, you gotta trust your gut! It's your story. You know what needs to happen and how. You know your Voice. *shrug*

People review based on their knowledge level. People who review my work are an interesting group. Take my Demon Talker Series. I have my target audience who have two different sets of reviews. Reading between the lines, it goes a little like this:

"This isn't anywhere even remotely close to Anita Blake. This needs to be more like Anita."

Or...

"This is interesting. What's the book about?"

*dead pan stare*

Frankie

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