Alice’s Restaurant

February 20, 2007

How much SHOULD you let other writers influence you?

Filed under: Writing Life — aliceaudrey @ 8:58 am

Clearly you don’t want to give up your own idea of a story in order to accommodate another writer’s idea.  If you’re willing to do that then you might as well go around doing all the stories that non-writers perpetually offer to writers. “You know what you should write?  You should write about my grandfather <or other relative, friend, favorite pet, or self> who <insert long boring monolog>.” 
But it really helps to get some feedback, and sometimes that feedback can take a story in a different direction than I had originally thought, ways that I like.

So where do you draw the line?



  1. Well, if it were not for the ideas and questions from my very wonderful CPs, I would be writing a very different book. And that book would suck.

    The most important thing they’ve done for me is to constantly question the internal logic of my storyline and suggest ways to make it more sound.

    Comment by TessaD — February 20, 2007 @ 3:56 pm

  2. I draw the line when the crit is littered with suggestions to say something “this way” instead of how I wanted to say it. Haven’t had one like that lately, thank goodness.

    I do like the questions of “why is such and such doing this?” or the suggestion that emotion and/or action should accompany a line of dialogue.

    Comment by Pam Skochinski — February 20, 2007 @ 6:42 pm

  3. I think ideas and suggestions are wonderful. I’ve gotten a few lately and it REALLY helped my book. But I still want the book essentially to be what I want it to be about. I will keep all the elements that to me, make it the book I want to write. For example, mine book is a love story with no intrigue therefore any suggestion to put some in would be met with a definitive NO.

    Comment by Bev — February 20, 2007 @ 7:30 pm

  4. I think the best critiques I’ve gotten have stuck to the big questions – who, what, where, when, and why. If I haven’t answered those questions, then I haven’t done my job as a writer. Especially the “why” – that’s the hardest one to see on my own. I may know what my characters are up to, but if I don’t make their motivations clear enough, then the reader can’t see quite how the story plays out in my head.

    But when it comes to critiques that basically say “I wouldn’t have written it that way”, that’s not only useless, it’s irritating. In which case I say let them write their own version of the story.

    Comment by Kelly — February 20, 2007 @ 9:54 pm

  5. I have gotten contradictory comments on the same story, such as too much dialog or not enough. Essentially, you have to take what you need from the critiques and lose the rest.


    Comment by Laurie — February 21, 2007 @ 10:14 am

  6. Critiques are great, but you still have to follow your heart and do what feels right.

    Comment by Jill — February 23, 2007 @ 1:57 pm

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