What to Change?

When you are in a writing group which critiques your work, you get all kinds of advice.  Everyone is attempting to be helpful to make your work better and, while sometimes they agree what needs to be changed, they don’t always.  So what are you to do?

The first thing to keep in mind is you will never please everyone all the time.  No matter how many times you change your manuscript there will be something someone does not like and thinks you could make the story better.  That’s alright; people are entitled to their opinion.  It’s why we have so many different genres, authors, and authors within genres.

The second thing to keep in mind is that essentially it is YOUR story and you can tell it however you like.  This means you can ignore all the advice you get if you want, although I wouldn’t recommend that.

So with that in mind how do you decide what to change?  Listen to what people say.  Take notes on a copy of the same work they are commenting on so you refer to them later.  If you hear something more than once, it probably should be changed.

Occasionally though you will get one person who just nitpicks things, major or minor, and makes you want to completely ignore them.  Remember you can do this, but if they see the work again they may tell you they still don’t like this, this, this, and this.  It also could be that the genre you write is not something they normally read.  So while you may have a good story, they just don’t really understand the concept of why you wrote it the way you did.

When in doubt though, ask questions.  You know what you are trying to say and, of course, the way it’s written makes total sense to you, but if your audience doesn’t see it then you need to figure out how to fix it.  Without some kind of guidance you might not be able to make the leap from in your head to on the page (and thus into your readers heads).


About awritersprocess
I have been a writer longer than I can remember. It started with poems in grade school and evolved into the manuscripts, articles, and blogs that I currently write for. My desire to become an editor came later in life but I am no less passionate about that as I am about writing. I have a BA in English (with a minor in History) and have even taken a proofreading class through Editorial Freelancers Association. I am a writer for hire.

One Response to What to Change?

  1. Tiggy Hayes says:

    You are so right – I have had great comments about my story but one person felt strongly about the mention of religion – she did admit it was fundamental to the story line.

    Although I have taken on board her comments I now realise that the character in the story may be too close to home had she not left the catholic church and it may have been too personal to her rather than a criticism about my story.

    i agree wholeheartedly with you that listen to the comments but at the end of the day it is your story.



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