When should we listen, and when should we speak?

Posted: January 24, 2013 by kkline922 in Kody's Words
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

A while back, Steve Yeager provided some superb advice on how to accept the critiques of your peers (Accepting Critiques with Grace) but what I would like to present is this: where do you draw the line in accepting feedback and sticking with your instinct?

I’ve been with Stonehenge for little over a year, and I have grown so much as a writer due to the feedback of this group, which ranges in age, genre, and perspective. If you are lucky enough to find a spectacular gang of writer’s, you cannot argue the benefits of seeing things from people who are not family or friends. But even then, you may not agree with all points of view or you may. Ultimately, it is up to the writer how they effect change within their story based on feedback.

For the sake of argument, let us say, out of ten people reading your work, all ten provide outstanding advice. Should you implement every change offered? Does the story remain yours? Or do you filter through the ideas and use them, tweak them, or disregard them?

I would like to share a quote from a writer, both lyrical, literature, and screenplay, who has had a profound influence on my life, Mr. Nick Cave: “All of the great works of art, it seems to me, are the ones that have a total disregard for anything else; just a total egotistical self-indulgence.”

I’m in no way saying don’t listen to any feedback or advice, but Cave brings up a valid point to consider. Many of the changes to my novel, which really spiced it up, have come from outside perspectives. But there comes a point when you need to trust your instincts, speak to your own heart and purpose, and soar with your own wings. A sentence may not be grammatically correct, or may have odd word choices, but it really has soul and meaning, to you, and everyone says change it. Do you? Or do you stick with your guns?

A writer’s group, select group of friends, or any other form of critique group will very much help you get to a higher echelon of writing, or art, and what I ask is, are you creating for you or others? Like any form of art, it takes years of discipline and practice to fine tune your style, and in the same arena, you must develop your own ear and instinct for feedback. Regardless of which methods you choose, always remain true to yourself, but always approach everything with an open heart, an open mind, and the rest will come…

  1. indytony says:

    This was good for me to read today. I am about a week away from finishing a story I believe is quite good. The length, form, and content, are leading me in the direction of marketing it first as a screenplay. But I know absolutely nothing about screenplays. Just today I e-mailed a man connected to the film industry I found out about through someone at my church. I’m eager to receive guidance, but I don’t want to compromise the integrity of the story.

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    • kkline922 says:

      Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad my words offered you encouragement, as a writer that is inspiring to me to affect another in a positive way, and I wish you the best of luck on your work. Cheers!

  2. sryeager says:

    Romans 12:2 😉

  3. Maggie says:

    In the end, the choice is yours. Readers can offer only suggestions; you should not let them change your work unless you absolutely agree that the change would be best for it.

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