Friday, October 16, 2009

A Quandary

Every so often, you get to that point where you aren't sure what to do.

A quandary.

Well, I am SO there.

I have a finished MS that I love. The characters are a bit confusing because of the situation they are in. I know this and am ready to fix the issues.


I don't want to totally change the MS because I like it. Does that mean it doesn't have room for improvement? Quite the opposite. If the story will get better, then I'm all for a change.

I have some very much trusted colleagues and friends who argue I should take the thing elsewhere. Others in this group think I should forge ahead with the changes and try again. Both sides are valid suggestions and both sides mean well.

Still, where is the line? Where is the point where you keep what you have and take your chances or you change to the point of losing your voice? I am the first to say the story needs some changes. I am also the first to say I don't know everything there is to know about writing. I'm not sure I'm ready to rewrite the blasted thing just to make someone else happy and I'm not totally sure I want to leave it if it can't be enjoyed by others.


Now I know that sounds sort of fork tongued. In a sense, it is. I want my story to keep its integrity, but I want it to see the light of publication.

Double oy!

What do I want to do?

Ugh. I'm not sure.

I think I'll think on it and try for an answer by the end of the week.

What do you think? I'd love your input.



Marianne Arkins said...

I've had two stories that suffered through rejections with change suggestions.

One, I took the suggestions of the editor I agreed with, resubmitted and got it contracted. That story was "Kitchen Matches" and has been my most successful story yet.

The other has been rejected three times, by three different presses (all three of whom gave different reasons for rejection, and different suggestions). I agree with some of what each person said, and settled in to make the changes, but it got to the point where the entire story was being changed and I wasn't sure that I (A) wanted to do that and (B) had the energy to rewrite the entire thing with MAJOR changes.

That one is shelved for now. Would I like to see it published? Sure. Could I find someone to take it somewhere? Absolutely. Do I want it published with the flaws I now realize it has? NO WAY.

With "Kitchen Matches", I opted to go with a different press than my first choice, because I liked the editor's suggestions better. Does resubmitting elsewhere mean you're compromising something? Absolutely not. Still, you need to do what YOU feel is right. And compromising "voice" is usually wrong.

Just saying :-)

Helen Hardt said...

Hi Wendi -- I agree with Marianne. Don't change your voice to suit a publisher or editor. Take a step back and look at the suggestions with an open mind. Can you kind of see her point? If so, revise. If not, stick to your guns. Write the story you want to write. Otherwise you won't be happy with it.

Kaily Hart said...

You need to combine what you feel in your heart with what comments resonate for you. Not everyone will like what you write; it's a given. It's tough when that someone happens to be an editor you're targeting, but hey, there are other editors and lines and publishers. Personally, I would be reluctant to go with comments that result in a major rewrite of a story. Why not just write a new one? Probably less effort and agony. It's been my experience that writers generally have an inkling of what's not working for a story so feedback that comes back along those lines is probably the one to go with! I recently entered 2 contests with the same manuscript. Some comments were consistent, some really resonated with me 'cause I kinda already knew where the weaknesses were and some were just so far out there (and conflicting with other judges) I just outright discarded them. Go with what feels right till you have a story that says to you "this is good'.

Shelley Munro said...

Sometimes it helps to put the manuscript away for a month or two and work on another project. I had rejections on a couple of projects and did that. When I came back to them things were much clearer, and I've since contracted both manuscripts.

I tend to go with gut instinct a lot. Sometimes it's difficult to actually pinpoint what is wrong with a manuscript, and of course agents and editors all have different likes and dislikes. This business is subjective. Good luck with your submission.

Wendi Zwaduk and Megan Slayer said...

You guys all rock. Thanks for the advice.

M~, you're right. I have to go with what I feel is my voice and can't compromise that to the point that it's not MY writing.

Helen - yep an open mind was something I did NOT have when I read the comments the first time around. Thanks for the boost.

Kaily - you should make motivational banners that say "Go with what feels right and makes you say this is good". You are so right. Thanks.

Shelly - Thanks for the boost. Yes, this business is very subjective. I haven't looked at the sub for about a week, so it's probably time to go back, but I think I'll work on another one before I go back to it.

Thanks, all of you.