Friday, February 11, 2011

When Enough Is Enough

Okay before I get started my little blogfest that could is in need of participants. If you have some free time on Tuesday please check it out here.

Enough is enough. As writers I think our biggest struggle, even our default struggle can be summed up in the three words enough is enough. Q: "What's a good word count for my novel?" A: Enough. This is the most obvious but I think there are countless other questions we could ask about our work that could be answered with the same one word. Enough.

But I think there are other instances when enough is enough that we don't even think about. Like when you have 20 people that all have an opinion on your story half of them contradicting the rest with at least 10 or 15 people that have never read the story! What do you do? If you go one way the group on your left hates. Do the opposite and the righters will be after you. At that point, it seems like all you can do is throw the pages in the air and do a stomp dance on them when they land, then shred them so you never have to see them again. But the thing is everyone liked something about your story. They just all thought something could be changed. So it's probably not so bad that it should be shredded to keep from seeing daylight.

I think there comes a point when it's time to say enough is enough. Quit listening to other people and go with your instinct. Because if you keep trying to chase every blow of the wind you'll find yourself running circles, and the story dies in the process. For me, I've had it. Enough is enough. I've been working on this story for one year. I started writing this particular story for very specific reasons. And as the criticism (all be it well intentioned) continues to come in, I have to remind myself that I saw the guy disappearing in fire. I was there. (In a dream, of course, but still). No one else did. I know what happened. Not anyone else.

Enough people have liked it that I can hope some agent in New York will. If not? Well, life didn't end in law school when I made my first D and life won't end if someone says "Form Rejection. Thanks."


  1. Wow...Umm...Emil Fred I took your advice. I'm getting really good at ignoring me ignore this....

  2. Like my statistics instructor would say “Plot the data” and see if there is a correlation. If you see that there is a correlation of 0 then ignore the hypothesis that there needs to be a change to your story.

    You can also conduct a survey of some of the opinions, quantify the responses in ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ format and see if any of them follow a distribution(normal distribution).

    See thats why I’ve been telling you to show some interest in math.
    Sorry, normally I don’t comment but I think this could be good for you.

  3. This is so true. We can make ourselves crazy if we over think everything. I'm guilty of this trap, since I try to be a people pleaser. I don't want to someone to hate me OR my work. But we can't please everyone. It's tough to remember this sometimes.

  4. *sigh* What you say is very true. The real dilemma for me has been know when it's 'right.' When your inexperienced in a new trade, do you listen to the people who are experienced? One would hope, so, but what if they haven't been successful at getting published either? It's all such a crap shoot.

    A good friend and mentor said at some point you, as the author, have to made the decision in spite of what the betas may be telling you. Got with your gut.

    Good luck!

  5. You are so right about the advice and the criticisms. You know your own story and your own voice. Filter, take what you think is good and tune out the rest. No one can tell your story but you. I wish you all the best with your novel and your future projects.