When To Stop Listening
Today’s Brew: Iced anything. Dear Lord Jesus, it’s hot out there. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
“That one was not my fault, Ellie. How was I supposed to know he was a cokehead?”
“I don’t know, Kat. The constant bloody noses, the five inch long pinky nail, the bag of coke he always carried…”
–From Running Home
Our Twitter buddy Rob Kristofferson (@kristoffrable) posted these lines from Julie’s book today. It pleased me for two reasons: It’s one of my favorite scenes in the book because I feel like you learn a lot about Ellie and Kat’s relationship in this conversation. And someone told Julie to take this scene out.
Thankfully, she didn’t listen. The person suggested it was an info dump, and that friends would never talk like that. So maybe her friends didn’t talk like that. But I know that my friends talk like that, so I suggested that the scene stay. I’m glad Julie agreed.
I had entered my query for Because The Night, then Immortal Dilemma, in a critique form. It got ripped to shreds. Ripped. Not only did the reviewer hate my query, she hated every aspect of my story. I was dumbfounded. I had sent the query out to an agent and entered it in another contest. I finished second in the contest, and got a full request from the person who wound up being my agent, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg. Now what if I totally changed that query around, or even worse, lost confidence in what I had to share? Where would I be now?
Vampire books don’t sell, we all know that right? Okay, so tell Julie that. Tell my agent that. Tell the publisher that I talked to who said “you can never be too thin, too rich, or publish too many vampires.” Shitty vampire books don’t sell. I even take that back, since I’ve read some clunkers. Right the best story you can, no matter what speaks to you. It’s your voice that will find you an audience, not the hot genre of the moment.
Critique partners, editors, Authonomy reviews, contest leaders…everyone means well. But it’s all just an opinion. Figuring out which ones to listen to is the hardest part of editing. Because one person feels a certain way about your work doesn’t mean that everyone does. It doesn’t even mean anyone else does. There aren’t any real answers to who has the best advice. You need to follow your heart and do what is best for your story. No one knows the story in your heart better than you do.