I am sitting with my laptop at the dining table while my husband queries me from across the room about why I haven’t been editing my novel. Nearly a month has gone by since I asked for six months. Have I been working on it?
I tell him no. To myself I think that I have been planning and trying to decide what approach to take. I’ve been allowing some thoughts to settle in my mind. And I know very well that it is over a month since I asked for extra time to edit my novel.
My adult son is in the living area with my husband, listening to our conversation. He asks me, “Why do you think you need to edit it?” I tell him, for the second time, that I have had several authors look at portions of it and advise me to make changes.
“Did they all say the same thing?” he asks.
His question catches me off guard. I know he’s getting at something. I am suddenly alert, searching my memory for evidence I have missed.
I reply that two of the people said I should do less telling and more showing. He says, “But some people like more telling.”
I keep on thinking about his question, and as he is leaving I acknowledge that one author loved my ending, while another thought I should change it.
My son smiles and looks at me as if to say, I told you so. He remarks that so much of writing is subjective. Then he shares with me that when he was in high school he wrote a paper for which he received a C grade. Not satisfied, he took the paper to another teacher and asked him to grade it. He gave him an A+. He took the paper back and showed it to the first teacher.
One person simply did not like his writing style, while the other obviously saw its merit.
I conclude that my voice is the voice to which I must be true.
As writers, we absolutely must be true to our own voice. Worrying about what other people think and say will only make us not produce something honest. Keep following your voice
Yes. In the little exchange I wrote about, I began to see that I had not given enough weight to my own voice. Thank you.
Love this post. I suffered through two different critique groups before getting out and writing like I wanted to. I know for the most part everyone was trying to help, but you have to write in your own style. I agree with you entirely.
I’ve never been part of a critique group so I don’t know what I’m missing. =) Glad to hear you are pursuing your own writing style with confidence. Thanks for the comment.
It’s hard to know which opinions to consider and which to ignore. Sometimes over-revising can turn your story into something that’s no longer yours. You make a great point about finding — and keeping — your unique voice.
Yes, Gwen, that is the challenge – knowing which opinions to accept. I think the more we understand our voice the easier it is to discern what will help us move forward. There are also times when one piece of advice is helpful and fits, whereas at another time, or for another situation, it may not apply.
Wishing you all the best with your novel. Thanks for stopping by.