Sunday, September 22, 2013

Day 259 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis






It happens. You reach that point in writing something where you think you've taken it as far as you can, but you're not one hundred percent sure you've taken it as far as you can. You put it away to let things simmer yet, even with the seasoning time can add, you're still stuck. Where do you go from there?
I've been lucky in that I have a wonderful life mate to look at my mad ramblings and help me even when I'm overly resistant to suggestion. (It's called being a writer!) The truth be told, she catches things that I've looked at a half dozen times and just haven't seen. This isn't that unusual an occurrence, it happens to anyone in a creative field. We get so close to what we're working on that even a fairly significant error can go unnoticed.
In the past, I've had editors who would make suggestions as to plot or character insight. These were the fresh eyes that often pick up on those places where we go awry or just plain miss something. This doesn't mean that you should implicitly trust one person's impressions or input. There are always those who are trying to rewrite your work into their vision of how the story should be told.
If you're going the test reader route, I'd suggest that you use more than one reader. If at all possible, get it out to at least three or, even better, five. Then you can take an average of what the group thoughts are and, if there seems to be agreement on a point across the majority then (perhaps), you might want to take a look at the area they have hit on.
Remember, in the end, writing is not a communal art form, except in those avant-garde exercises where you're trying to create something intentional. Your story is your story. It needs to be told in your voice and style. If the suggestions you get from one, or a thousand, people don't fit your vision as the writer, then stick to your guns. After all, even in the case of folk tales and lore, the eventual end product is the cumulative telling through the ages, but some clever son-of-a-bitch came up with the original plot and characters!
Just a helpful hint from your Uncle Dane.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis

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