Saturday, April 2, 2011

B is for Bendable

Are you bendable? I suppose we all are at times. When it comes to writing, are you? Can you handle having your work critiqued and are you willing to follow the advice of those who know more? Can you cut and re-arrange your story if you're told it doesn't work?

Those are hard questions. We'd all like to say yes, and I'm sure we think we are, but are we really?

A while ago I worked with an editor who I felt was totally unbendable. I still think that. I also felt like I bent over backward until I could bend no more.

I look back now and realize she was right on many points, but the thing that turned me off  was the way she said things--super sarcastic, critical and sometimes heartless and mean. It brought the rebel out in me. No one likes to be bullied or threatened. Now I find myself doing those things to my story that she wanted me to do so long ago. Why couldn't I do it when I was with her? Why wasn't I more bendable? I supposed because the longer I worked with her, the more stupid I felt.

Recently I had a really good friend/editor read my story. She said many of the same things my previous editor had--that my story sounded MG, not YA. That I should cut the over-all word count, that I should work on the fight scenes and a few other things. When she said these things did I get upset? Lose my temper? Fight back? No. Because she said them in a kind, caring way. Was she direct? Yes. Was she demeaning? No. I was able to take her advice, realizing she was right, and get to work feeling like it was my idea to make the changes instead of someone else demanding I make the changes.

This experience really made me sit back and think. Both my editor and I made mistakes. She should have been kinder and more patient, working with novices. I shouldn't have felt so threatened and insecure. Not that I'd go back now. I know things worked out the way they were meant to, but in the future, I will remember this. It's more important to bend, or you'll break.


Inside Out said...

Good thoughts. I'm just thinking I wish I had an editor... well, that and a few dozen other things. Congratulations on following your heart to this point. I look forward to checking in again.

Anonymous said...

It's so lovely when people are kind and caring. There is no need to be mean.

Old Kitty said...

It's great to be able to bend and be bendable but it's also a great help if the person/situation you are bending over backwards for are equally as amenable!!!

Kindness and consideration produces more positive results rather than mean-ness!!!

Good for you!!!

Take care

Carole Anne Carr said...

How very true, took me a long time to learn this.

The Las Vegas Writer said...

Revisions...revisions...! Good luck :)

M Pax said...

It is my nature to be stubborn at first. Then I go back and take what I can that's constructive. There's always something. Usually things I don't realize I do.

mooderino said...

I think it's a lot to do with feeling insecure. It's tough but you have to eventually consider things objectively and if you don't agree with suggestion given to you, then that's okay, you make the final decision and no one can force you to change anything. But the way a person approaches you isn't something you can control. It's too much to try and deliver it in exactly the right way for each person. If they're straightforward it can be seen as sarcastic and belittling. If they're too kind, patronising and condescending.

The important thing is what they offer. Becasue it won't make any difference to their work if you follow their advice or not.

I would like to point out I am not an editor.

Interesting post.

mshatch said...

there is that saying about the honey and catching flies...I am fortunate that the people I've had critique my work have all been kind.

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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