Monday, May 17, 2010

Bizarre or Vindicated?

Ever receive an evaluation of your work that left you scratching your head?

Goodreads is not my favorite forum. It's clumsy and out-dated, but there are some incredible writers there. Recently I faced the challenge in one of my groups to write a piece of flash fiction. Not my forte. It was a fun venture, and I felt really pleased with the outcome. Of course the test is in the response. How will people receive your work?

The authors didn't hate it. That's the good news, but my family did. They kept complaining about advanced "vocabulary" diminishing their appreciation of the work. ADVANCE VOCABULARY?!? Is clambered such a strange word? Or absconded? Or reiterated? It's one thing if I had been writing for a teenage audience, but this was aimed for adults. Was I asking too much by way of comprehension? (Please! Give me your opinion? Where is the line?)

I sometimes think when we ask for "edits" what we get is a nit-picking according-to-me response, unless it comes from an unbiased source. (One with experience separating personal preference from literary value.) It then becomes incumbent for us to interpret what we receive from what matters. Unless I hear the same thing from 3 + readers I don't give it much weight. The problem is when those 3 readers occupy the same room and act as a bouncing board for one another. 

And now the wrap up: No one can tell you what is wrong or right for your works. They may offer suggestions. They may tell you what rubbed them wrong. They may even make a valid point! It's important to listen, but it's also important to lend credence only where it applies.


  1. this is really a tough call. audiences are so different, which is why this business is so subjective. but don't let it get you down -- often our family and friends aren't the best sources for advice.

    trust the opinion of professionals in the industry, or experienced fellow-writers. it's hard for non-book-lovers to always understand.

    but i can only imagine your frustration!

    being nit-picky about big words certainly shouldn't be a consideration in an adult novel.


    don't worry, though. it always gets better :)

    hat's off to you for trying something new!!

  2. I couldn't have said it better myself. I find sometimes when I post something for feedback I'm inundated with conflicting advice. I try to step back and think about what everyone has said, picking and choosing what I think works. Trying to please everyone never works. Go with your instincts and please yourself.

  3. Absconded? What the hell is that anyways? Seems some writers care more about their own inflated egos than the mass market. Tip: if you want to reach a vary narrow niche audience uncommon words are ok. If you want to reach the mass market, you don't want to pull someone out of the story because they are stumped by an unusual word. Average joe reader is where the money is at. Just my two cents. But what would I know? I am just a lowly avid reader with a common vocabulary, too stupid for some books but I own a lot of others.


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