Archive for November 26th, 2008

Nov 26 2008

“How to Be Edited”

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

This article offers strong advice on how to use criticism effectively. To summarize:

  • Positive advice from friends and loved ones cannot be taken seriously.
  • Some reviewers will offer inane and ridiculous advice.  But if reviewers keep offering advice that sounds ridiculous, the problem may lie more with your writing than your readers.
  • When are you done editing?  Use the Ten Percent Rule:  when you change less than 10% of a manuscript from one rewrite to the next, you’re probably ready to submit.

There is one main issue that I think he kind of misses, though.  He says that “the value of critique varies widely depending on whether it is given with the same goal in mind as you had in writing it.”  That measuring stick is pretty useless.  You’ll probably never know whether the reviewer’s “goal” is the same as yours.

For example, let’s say I write a story that’s a cheap knockoff of Eragon.  If my reviewer says “this needs to be totally overhauled,” is it because he hates this specific knockoff or because he finds the entire epic-fantasy genre cliched?  Unless he specifically admits to hating epic fantasy in general, there’s no way for me to know.

A more useful measuring stick in judging a review is “does this get me closer to what I want to accomplish?” It doesn’t matter at all what goals the reviewer has, but whether his advice helps you achieve yours.

14 responses so far

Nov 26 2008

A Texan and a Harvard professor walk into a bar…

Published by under Comedy

The Texan asks “where ya from?”

The Harvard professor says “Where I come from, we don’t end our sentences with prepositions.”

The Texan asks “where ya from, jackass?”

2 responses so far