I enjoy writing workshops. They allow strangers to read and comment on each other’s work.It is a great opportunity to have new eyes on your work, your writing, and sometimes the advice and feedback is invaluable. Most of the time, writers are grateful for the feedback; sometimes they aren’t.
In the workshop I’m in right now our focus is YA. This girl in this workshop submitted a random chapter from her novel; not a bad thing. But, the way she writes is clogged with description. It lacks clarity and cohesion. She’s not a “bad writer,” but she’s too in love with her setting. She has made the mistake that many new writers make: she bit off more than she can chew. She’s written a story with dual narrators and to change this aspect would be to alter a vital element to her story.
I didn’t know she had two narrators until I read someone else’s comments. That’s how unclear this story was. I was beyond confused. Therein lies my beef with her style. It’s unclear and confusing. The story is buried below the descriptions and purple prose. I told her this, as well as warning against the complexity in using two narrators as a beginning writer.
Her two paragraph response began with, “Thanks for the advice, but…”
No. When several people TELL you that your story is unclear and they had no idea what was happening, you don’t shove that advice off because you have already written your story like you want it. You will not get published that way. If an agent told you to change something, you seriously consider it. If an editor told you to change something, you seriously consider it. If several readers tell you something, you SERIOUSLY consider it.
This is what I’m talking about when I complain of arrogant writers. They think what they’ve written is the greatest, and those that don’t like it aren’t “smart” enough to “get” it. It’s new writers who are writing their first real novel. Just because you wrote it, doesn’t mean that it’s good. Odds are, you’ll need revision after revision to get it into that publication zone.
There is an influx of writers who publish their not-ready-to-be-published novels through Amazon or elsewhere, thinking that they’ll make it. Then they don’t understand why their novel isn’t shooting to the top of the bestseller’s list.
When you self-publish, you become your own editor, designer, agent, and publicist. Before you self-publish, research the market; hire a freelance editor; get a handful of beta readers; DO NOT just assume that you’re the greatest writer alive and your story is fabulous as a first draft.
There are avenues available to help writers out. You just need to look for them, and want to better your novel and your skills as a writer. If you have no interest in learning how to hone your craft, then you’d better find another hobby. Writing well is work. Learning how to write well is work.