If you have had several people reading your work, conflicting opinions are common. But what do you do with them? Your mother says you are brilliant, but then you find this person you’ve never met who thinks your novel needs all these changes! Huh?
***Smile*** I wish my Mom was still around to tell me how brilliant I am.
First of all, ditch your mother’s opinion. Her job in life is to support you no matter what. She thought your mud pies were works of art, remember? Mommy, Daddy, Sister, Brother… all those great people. Let them read, but be careful of their praise, no matter how critical you think they normally are.
Anyway… This is where I am going with this post…
I had one beta left from my previous beta run that recently finished a second read of HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT. He told me that the words I chose were too childlike, and even if I was writing for a teen audience, I should not insult their intelligence, so I should insert some more adult words in the narrative.
In this new and final round of beta readers– reading pretty much the same manuscript– another beta (I don’t know either of them personally, by the way) told me that some of my words are too mature in my narrative for a YA audience.
Talk about contradictions! One says too mature, one says too childlike. Exactly the same manuscript.
Mulling it over, I am sticking to my guns and not “smartening it up”. I appreciate an easy read. I am sure I’m not the only one. Even with the Kindle (easier to look words up in the dictionary) unknown words are annoying, and I either totally ignore them, or if I do look them up, I have spoiled the pacing. That is not what I want to do to my reader. I did replace one word he complained about, but I replaced it with a “common speech” word.
Now… dumb it down further? Hmmmm.
Reader #2’s comments are valid. The older-sounding words are in the narration, but in a ten-year-old’s POV. Would he really have the word “furrowed” in his narrative self-conscious? (It is not inner thought by the way. That would be a no-brainer.)
In this case, he “furrowed his brow.” I changed this to “Twisted his brow” and I have to admit she was right. It flows much better and sounds natural. She also suggested that no ten-year old even knows they have hair follicles. (He is getting his hair pulled, and the follicles spring back to his scalp when they let go.)
The follicles I am leaving. I didn’t find that one as obtrusive.
There is another point when someone furrows their brow, but it is in an adult POV. That one I will probably leave as well, since the perspective is more “mature”.
So— Sorting out contradicting feedback…
One person says apples, the other person says bananas. I reviewed their suggestions and gave them strawberries. Everything I’ve read said don’t try to make one person happy, write to the masses. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who didn’t like strawberries.
Have you ever had such completely contradictory assessments? What did you do?