4 Things to Remember When Someone Doesn’t Like Your Writing
“...You can (1) cater to everyone's opinion and then you'll have a bland book written by committee, or (2) you can adjust a little here and there simply to make it more marketable or (3) you can decide to write what you please and damn the rest. You do what works best for you. I suggest you go with either option 2 or 3, because you cannot please everybody.”
I’ve been working on a darling little romance novella about two pets who become human. It really makes you think about what it means to be human and I feel so accomplished working on it. Well, in the story, they are adults but have the mentality of children. For that reason, they are VERY literal. Makes sense. Pets are like toddlers and children; they learn as they go through the book. Well, I asked a couple of friends to read a chapter for me and all of them immediately interpreted it as mocking multiple demographics. The characters were doing adult things but speaking in broken English and exploring it like children. Essentially, they thought the characters were moderately mentally-challenged English language learners.
But, wh— what the hell are you writing?!
It’s complicated. Anyway, what I intended in my writing and what was interpreted were drastically different. It worried so much that I actually stopped writing and abandoned the project for a while.
I was heartbroken. So, I reached out my writing communities.
They really tried to figure out how to help me rework my WIP and gave me great ideas. But they encouraged me to never give up my story and it really challenged me to think like an author who will face adversity in such a politically correct world. That’s what I want to share with you.
The quotes I’ve included in this article are from real people from my Google+ Writing Communities. They are awesome people, but I do not represent or sponsor them or their beliefs at all. Their words are included here for example purposes, but anything said beyond what is below is not representative or me or the TeeteringOnWisdom brand by any means. Read my full disclosure here.
Everyone Has Different Tastes and Preferences.
My input is this: we read every book from our perspective. We are who we are where we are at that given point in time! Life is often times controversial but only because of how we are perceiving it! You can only control the words you put down on paper, every reader comes to it with their own personality intact! It’s the wonderful thing about life no two people are the same! Don’t let it discourage but to encourage.
Someone Out There Loves Your Writing as Much as Others Hate It.
Controversy makes the reader involved emotionally in what you have written. If you don’t preach or give an opinion then the reader has to question their own thoughts, values etc.
John S Tobin
You Can’t Please Everyone.
There is conflict everywhere, and controversy to be had in everything. You shouldn’t shy away from it just because it might hit a nerve. However, you should tread carefully as well. And you have to show ALL points of the controversy, not just one. Make sure that the book highlights everything involved and then, don’t fall on one side or the other of the argument. Leave that to your readers to decide. If it has been presented with all sides of the controversy given equal voices, you should be fine.
Your Story is a Story That Only You Can Tell. It’s Your Work and Your Heartfelt Contribution to Humanity.
Oh, never stop. Sometimes people don’t understand an author’s creative genius. Never stop creating. Learn a little from each critique as you go along, and remember your book belongs to you.
Never give up 🙂 Just write as you are feeling it. That’s how you give your readers the best you can.
I would keep with it! If the characters and story are still following you, I would honor the process. Make changes where your heart tells you to.
They were so awesome and eventually, I decided to keep on, as you should do. I found that I couldn’t please everyone with my writing. But, as long as I know what I’m trying to say and to whom, I could make my writing better and appeal them. Try this…
Ask for Constructive Feedback.
Let those you trust read and critique your work that you may change what needs to be changed, and keep what needs to be kept. You can’t go wrong.
Follow your passion. Consider critiques about believably. Never bore the reader. You’ll be fine.
Reconsider and Pinpoint Your Audience, Then Adjust Accordingly.
Having said that, if the majority of people are reading the same pieces and are getting pinged by the same things, it may require a different approach to how you handle the subject matter, not that the subject matter is wrong. Sometimes it can be tweaking dialogue, and sometimes it means a complete restructuring of how you present scenes.
I don’t suggest quitting though. Ever. We adapt, learn, grow, tweak, edit, tweak some more, edit some more, and write again.”
Read More From the Similar Books to See How Other Authors Handle It.
Never. Ever. Quit.
Writing is how we change the world, how we change lives, how we preserve what it really means to be human.
Well, aren’t you inspirational!
Damn, right I am! I can do some awesome things when inspired myself. We all get there where we will encounter opposition, but we can’t let it discourage us. I think I really would have quit if it hadn’t been for my writing community (make sure you find yours, by the way).
The Writer’s Coffeehouse–my writing community–is on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook, by the way.
*Falls off soapbox*
*Clears throat* Have you ever felt discouraged with your beta readers? What else should we consider with disgruntled readers? Let us know below and on social media. Also, don’t forget to sign up for some Writer’s Wisdom every other week with muh newsletter!
My first real work was a book called ‘Dear Kids’. It began as some letters to my children about some pretty hard lessons God has taught me through some very unique experiences – including almost being killed in a car crash, a battle with cancer, and losing 3 of me children now (2 to suicide). Most people are blessed by reading it, some even say it changed their lives. But one woman read it and was incensed! She asked me “Who the HELL do you think you are to write this stuff?” At first I didn’t even know how to respond. I mean, I felt like I had shared my soul with her and was attacked in returned. I finally said, “I think I’m the person these things happened to. And there’s not a word in there that isn’t true. Besides, remember the title. These were intended as letters to my own children. It’s because of God’s prompting that I’m sharing them at all.” I never did find out what made her so angry. I think sometimes people don’t want to be CONstructive, but Destructive. It’s sad, but …
I’m so sorry someone tried to invalidate your experiences like that, John! You’re so right, that some people look to just be destructive, even when given every opportunity to be the opposite. If God directed you to share, you may have touched her and her response was just anger because she didn’t want to accept that maybe she’s experienced similar, or that someone could address their ideas so adequately. In any case, you sound like you handled it so well, and didn’t let it destroy your confidence in your work. And, that’s the important part.
We should keep in mind that we will boor some people. They won’t like what we write not because it isn’t good. It may be quite good. It just isn’t a good fit. I find this is true even with authors I like. I just don’t like some genres. Don’t take it personally, but two chapters in and I’m done. It’s not your problem and I don’t believe you can fix it.
Very true. Some things are just out of our hands. We can’t please everyone! I’m the same way with some authors. I know sometimes, I’ll like the first book in a series, then not like other books because the writing style starts to change based on feedback from the author’s last book. It doesn’t mean the new style isn’t any better, it’s just not the style I enjoyed. And, that’s okay.
Thank you for posting this. It’s my first time here, and this is great. I’m having trouble finding my writing community. I honestly have no idea where to begin.
Hi Kellyn. I’m glad you’re enjoying the content. I would recommend writing communities on Facebook and Google+. Personally, I’m very involved in the Writers’ Coffeehouse on Google+ the most and it has been a wonderful experience these past 7 months. The Writers Helping Writers group on Facebook is responsive, as well.