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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Feedback - Rules Of Thumb

Not all editors give you a pre-written rejection slip.

Some offer substantial constructive feedback, and suggestions for improvement. I'm glad when I receive such feedback, even when I don't agree with all suggestions.

Now, receiving reader/editor feedback is a test of your true character....
If you can't bring yourself to listen to ANY suggestion, no matter how trivial, you're a crank. Cranks rarely write stuff that others want to read.
If you mindlessly accept ANY suggestion, no matter how absurd, you're spineless. You'll become a rich, successful Hollywood script-hack -- but you'll never be a good writer. (Cry all the way to the bank.)

So how do you know if a suggestion is worth listening to? A few rules of thumb:

1. Always, ALWAYS take spelling advice seriously. I don't care if you've got a degree in linguistics, I don't care if you won the 1994 national spelling bee - look it up in a dictionary.

2. When someone suggests that a character name or the story/novel title should be changed, it could be either good or bad advice. People can show unbelievably bad judgment in their choice of names - just look at the names some people give their own babies! Trust your instincts.

3. Plot changes: If the suggested change makes the plot more difficult to follow, REJECT it. If the suggested change makes the plot easier to follow, CONSIDER or ACCEPT it.

4. Never take writing advice from your parents. (Never ask them.)

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