*edit... I'd like to thank my kids for the original title of this post. Th
My husband pointed me to something interesting the other day. For those of you who don't want to click through and read it, it's a post that someone put on Yahoo Answers, asking for a critique of a first page. The poster didn't put anything to identify the work and the resulting critiques varied from constructive to pretty harsh. One person even said that the poster knows it needs work, so why ask people to look at it. What the people responding didn't know is that this was the first page of a book by David Foster Wallace, INFINITE JEST. This book is considered by many to be a genius work. It's on several top 100 lists. And people were tearing it apart.
So? What's the point, you may ask. I have two thoughts I want to share.
There will never be a point at which our books are going to be acceptable to everyone. Being published won't make people like what you wrote. There will always be something more that could change. There will always be a critic who can't understand or doesn't connect with what you wrote. It doesn't mean that your work has no value or that others won't see it as good and meaningful.
Second, just because someone says you need to change something, it doesn't mean they are right. You are the one who knows your story best. At some point, if you keep changing things to match what someone else thinks, it's no longer your story, but theirs. You have to carefully weigh the critiques against your vision of the story and know when to stand your ground.
And there you have it, friends. What are your thoughts?