Friday, August 7, 2009

Seeds of Doubt

Oh, maybe I shouldn't have posted that snippet. It's not that you all weren't supportive. Quite the opposite! People said such nice things about the newer version of that PIGS stanza that now I am second-guessing my decision to replace it.

I even went to so far as to email Casey and ask her if my newest version was better, and she said, I actually prefer the one with "succulent swine."

When did I start writing by committee? (My husband always warns me against doing exactly that!)

Why can't I decide for myself? Why do I feel like polling each and every one of my followers? Maybe because I am so used to writing with Becky? Whenever I am on the fence, she always has a strong opinion, so that settles it.

Maybe I have just revised this story for so long that I have lost perspective? Has that ever happened to you?

20 comments:

Linda said...

The short answer? Yes. Something like that has happened to me. I feel your pain.

The only antidote I know of is time. Give it a couple of weeks, and when you come back to it you'll know which version you like. (And remember -- there's not a "right" answer!)

Lazy Writer said...

Yes. Definitely! I've heard before about how important it is to put your work away for a while and go back to it later with fresh eyes. I have a hard time doing it, but you just gave a perfect example of why it's important.

Casey McCormick said...

Indecisiveness is easily my worst quality. I struggle with it and struggle with it. You know how I posted about having my story all figured out? That's already fallen apart again. I came up with a completely new angle (one of many), and I'm stuck trying to figure out which I need to push forward with. There are just so many ways to go, I can't make up my mind.

My advice is to always follow your gut. If someone is saying they like a version, but your gut starts wiggling about it, go with your gut. Otherwise you won't ever feel right about the story, or stanza, as it may be.

In the face of varied opinion, that's all I have to rely on. My mind is too easily swayed!

B.J. Anderson said...

All the time. And then I have to remember that it's MY story, and even though I might have a moment of doubt, there must have been reasons why I wrote it that way in the first place. I think you have to listen to critiques, but don't let them take over your style. Bleh, easier said than done! For me, it's so easy to think I'm the one who needs to change something because the other person can't POSSIBLY be wrong.

storyqueen said...

I have been known to read things that are giving me trouble to groups of kids of my target audience age to get perspective. Sometimes, it's far less about their reaction and much more about how it felt to read the different versions.

Sometimes, for me, it's about the feel of the words as I read them. I guess it's like what Casey said, following your gut and all.

Good Luck!

Shelley

Trust yourself.

Tess said...

Oh, yes. Writing by committee is a dangerous and slippery road. Trust your instincts, my friend. Meditate on it and your answer will float to the surface.

BJW said...

I'd say your hubbies write, err right. Writing by committee will screw you up. You're the boss baby!

My rule is, I only take the suggestions that makes sense to me. And I'm a hard person to convince. Because I'm the fascist dictator of my stories. I recommend you stage a coup.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Dang that doubt! Yes, it plagues me, too.
I wrote a picture book and had one group praise it, another group suggest numerous changes. Changes made, first group said--what happened to this and that, we liked it before! So I put away that little picture book and someday I will look at the different versions again. Perhaps I will read them aloud and record it. Then listen to the different versions and see what I like. Might that work for you?

Corey Schwartz said...

Thanks! All great suggestions.

StoryQueen, you might have hit the nail on the head when you said to read it aloud to a group of kids. Funny, even when I read Hop! Plop! to a class (and it's in published form) I change a word here and there!

J.A. Palermo said...

Oh Corey! What we writers can sometimes do to each other!

None of us would write the same story. Take what rings true to you and politely put the rest aside.

Either way, it sounded to me like you've got a winner!

Lisa and Laura said...

I don't envy you. I think it must be so much harder to revise a PB than a 75,000 word manuscript because you have so few words to tell a story. I struggle over every little word in our massive manuscript, I can't imagine how I'd agonize over the text of a PB.

So, no advice, but commiseration from us.

Yat-Yee said...

Oh boy, does it ever.

On the one hand, you don't want to be so enamored with your own words you can't listen to anything else. On the other hand, you can't second guess yourself out of your original vision. And on the third hand....

Yes, I am plagued by indecisiveness all the time.

Hope you find a balance.

Stephanie Faris said...

It's a tough dilemma. Because you want to learn and challenge yourself to become better but you also need to listen to your own instincts and other people can influence that. I think we just have to learn to trust our own instincts and figure out which of the things others say to pay attention to and which we should just discard.

Rebecca said...

Corey, I believe this is a sign that it is time for you to walk away from this story. Wait to see what your new agent says.

:-)

Solvang Sherrie said...

Absolutely! But really, time away is good. Let it play in the back of your mind and when you come back to it, you'll know whether to take it or leave it.

T. Anne said...

I always put mine to bed for a while before editing and then before a re-edit. I once completely lost the voice and that was scary!

taralazar said...

Yes, this has definitely happened to me. I revise for so long that I can't see what's good and what stinks anymore. And sometimes I keep asking for opinions and wind up changing things I shouldn't. I recall an agent looking at my MG first page and crossing out things I added AFTER critique. Sometimes you have to trust your instincts.

Kelly Moran said...

oh yes. i leave it alone for a few weeks and then go back to it. it helps.
love your blog. i'm following you now. you should pop over/follow mine. i have all things books...
nice meeting you.
xo

JennyMac said...

Don't be hard on yourself. Sometimes taking a break, and a deep breath are very helpful. Good luck!!!

ElanaJ said...

This has definitely happened to me. In fact, just yesterday I was going through the notes from my critique group and I felt the great urge to email them some revisions just to ask, "Is this better now? Does it make more sense?"

So I get it.