Tuesday, May 25

Got to Get the Ball Rolling

And this is where I run into problems. Perhaps it’s because I write garbage (though my garbage isn’t too bad either) until I warm up, but I have the worst time with the beginning, just the first few pages. This is, of course, the WORST time to have a worst time. The first pages are where the hook must be. If it’s just not there, the reader will put the book down and not buy it. Likewise, the agent won’t request your full.

Here’s the prob: I have three versions (at least) of my first chapter. I keep changing it based on reader feedback. Well, now I’m getting feedback contradicting previous feedback (i.e., descriptions, history, exposition, name changes, etc). Yes, I’m tearing my hair out! My first page was posted on Dear Author on Saturday, and the critique was a little brutal, but honest. Much of the feedback there wanted me to put back stuff I’d already edited out on previous versions. Grrrrr! *frustration level rising*

My plan now? I’ll probably edit again, but this time I’ll just do what I want. I think I’ll just take the feedback I’m comfortable with. So how do you deal with conflicting advice? Do you get a lot of it to begin with? Where do you have the toughest time in your story? Any suggestions for first pages???

PS—I apologize in advance if I can’t get around to your blogs this week. I’ll try as best I can, but I’m out to sea and our bandwidth is teensy weensy on the satellite. It’s about a third the speed of dial-up, if that, and I usually can’t get the pages to load.


  1. Well, I feel your pain. What I decided to do was find ONE, and only one beta-reader whom I trusted implicantly and allowed her (or him) to critique. Multiple advice, as you are finding, can drive you insane. I would only make the required changes from that ONE person.

    When I finished those edits, I would then find another ONE person, with the same trust level, and allow them to read it. I never gave my ms. to more than one person at a time, and never back to the same person who looked at it before.

    Essentially, I have three people who look at my work, but not at the same time. And all at different stages.

  2. I haven't gotten to that point of yet of getting conflicting advice, since I just started getting back into the groove of things.

    However, I do like Piedmont Writer's advice of showing your manuscript to different people in order to get the best feedback/critique possible. It sounds like something that I would want to try with my latest project.

  3. When I get conflicting advice, I go with what feels right to me. You can always get more feedback from other writers after later edits. In the end, critiques are as fickle as the reading audience at large. You will never please everyone!

    Best of luck with it!

  4. @Piedmont Writer-I think I really do need to find one or maybe two readers I trust to give me specific, reliable feedback, especially readers who regularly read the genre I write. That's the tricky part.

    @G-I'm thinking that despite some conflicting advice, I can at least use the feedback that remains consistent from the majority of the readers.

    @Nicole-So true and absolutely encouraging to me! Thank you. I needed to be reminded.

    I also noticed later on that the critique crowd on the site I posted is consistently harsh on all first pages posted there. I suppose this pushes writers to improve, however I don't really agree with some of their criticism on those posts. I guess I shouldn't take all the feedback I get to heart.

  5. Hi. Thanks for paying me a visit and following my blog. I came by to check you out and I was happy to find a fellow aspiring author on the road toward publication. I just returned from the Backspace Writers conference and it was awesome. I'll be posting about it, so stay tuned. BTW, I'm following you now!


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