A Writers’ Conference

How can two accomplished, well-known writers critique the same story and give such different feedback?

One person loved it.  The other told me to change my style and start over again.

This simple fact became the dilemma for my weekend.

I wrote 364 words and they gave 2 opinions.

Which voice will be stronger?  The positive or negative?

Don’t get me wrong, I never expect everyone to enjoy my stories.  That would be silly.  But I’ve been lucky to share my work with readers that appreciate the intent of my thoughts.  Very lucky.

Or maybe most hate the stories and are too kind to say.  Ah, there is the old negative pattern trying to worm its way into my psyche.  This time I won’t let the bad review creep into my thoughts.  I will look the other way.

And let’s be honest.  I don’t think I can change. I write the way I write.  It is my voice. It is who I am.

Over the four days I met with agents, attended workshops, chatted with famous writers, drank with wannabes, learned about “dino-porn” and connected with as many people as I could.  I loved every second of the conference.

I even loved the bad review.  It taught me I won’t be devastated by a negative.

Well at least not this time.


6 replies
  1. Nancy Zrymiak
    Nancy Zrymiak says:

    Tricia, I think this says it all “It is my voice. It is who I am.” That’s what really makes for great writing and a great read. Glad I had a chance to meet you at the conference – you’re all about honesty, that’s for sure! p.s. Everywhere I look I see dinosaurs – pictures, jokes – can’t help thinking about Table 2 🙂

  2. Shari Green
    Shari Green says:

    Two readers, two reactions…I guess that’s the reality, isn’t it? Each reader is different, so each brings something different to the reading of any story. Must’ve been a little frustrating, lol, but sounds like you’ve got an awesome attitude! 🙂

  3. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    I agree with Shari’s comment as it would be hard to find two people with the exact same taste it the written word. That being said, I truly understand your frustration. It’s almost the devil’s advocate moment, which one do you trust? Trust your gut. Sometimes it is easier to listen to the negative, but I’d say it would be so much more fun to latch on to that positive feedback and take it from there 🙂

  4. Carol J. Garvin
    Carol J. Garvin says:

    Conflicting critiques are always baffling, and when they come from knowledgeable sources you don’t like to totally ignore either one. I like to get additional critiques of the same piece before deciding which advice is the most reliable… see where the majority lean. More opinions also help isolate whatever it was that provoked the opposing suggestion, so value might possibly be gleaned from it.

    • Tricia
      Tricia says:

      Carol… thanks for this! I have gotten other thoughts about the piece and it certainly has helped… and then in the end I think you have to go with what you feel is best (or maybe I say this because I do go with my gut!)


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