Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Opinions and coverage

So I'm waiting for agents to ring me back...

Meanwhile I received coverage from the lovely Elisabeth Pinto on a treatment for an adaptation that I've been working on. This goes along with the feedback from the inestimable Lucy at Bang2Write, by coincidence she's been talking about adaptations recently.

Whether you're writing novels or scripts (and probably any other creative work) never bother asking friends or family for their opinions on your work. Unfortunately it will most likely be useless since they either don't want to upset you, or think you're wonderful whatever you do, or even worse, they don't want you to be doing it and will try to kill your enthusiasm.

Who does that leave? People who have no vested interest in you as a person. There are online and offline writing groups (Google is your friend). These will not be professionals (usually) so everything they say must be taken with a pinch of salt. The more opinions you get, the better, and see what comments are common. (Anyone writing SF, Horror or Fantasy should go to Critters which is the biggest and the best online critiquing group, and it's free.)

And then there are the actual professional readers who you have to pay (like Lucy and Elisabeth).

Even then I recommend at least two opinions. Why? Because art is always subjective, and it's important to see what commonalities there are between the reports you get. Those are definitely the areas that will need work.

But always, in the end, trust yourself. It's your work, your creations. There are certain things like format that should be adhered to, but everything else is open. Even structure.

Many moons ago I worked as an editor for a computer magazine in a medium-sized technology magazine publisher. Every article that appeared got edited and changed by 4 people -- the editor, the sub-editor, editor-in-chief, and the publisher. (Sometimes more.)

The result was that every article had all its individuality edited out of it, all the sharp edges were smoothed down, and any creative spark thoroughly doused. The result was an homogenous pap. Every article was readable, but had no life.

You don't have to make any change that any reader of your work might suggest. It's yours, make sure it stays that way.

What's on the turntable? "A Whisper" by Coldplay

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