Accepting Criticism

Accepting Criticism, guest post by John Lansing,
If I had one piece of advice to share with a new writer – after finishing a first draft – it would be to find yourself a good editor. It will make all the difference in the world and help you stand out in a very crowded field of published and self-published authors.

One of the hardest things for an artist to do is accept criticism. It doesn’t matter if you’re an actor, a writer, a musician; it’s hard to hear anybody say negative things about your work. Your baby. One of the best things you can do is, Get Over Yourself. Learn to collaborate. Find an editor you trust, and give into the process. Take it on the chin, take the notes, and try to implement them. And then step back and see if it improves the work. If the notes are coming from an editor who wants you to improve your own work, and has your best interest at heart, trust that your material will grow. And it will spring from your own creativity.

When you’re giving your first draft to a few trusted friends, or beta readers, if one person is critical of a sequence that you’re in love with, you might pass on the note. If two or more people have the same negative response, it’s time to rethink the passage. Not easy, but worth the effort.

You can always go back to the original if you believe your work has suffered. That hasn’t been my experience. My work has always been improved by my collaborations.

When I turned in my short story, “The Test,” to Tatra Press, I thought it was a perfectly tight piece. Ready for publication.

My editor, John Paine, and my publisher, Chris Sulavik, both weighed in. They loved the story, but thought it might be improved if there was a real time narrator who could put the events of the story into context, personalize the relationships, and make people care more about the main characters.

It’s never easy to go back and revisit what you consider to be a final draft, but I trusted both men, dug deep, and I’m pleased with the results. It’s a stronger piece for not letting my ego get in the way of doing the hard lifting.

Accepting Criticism, guest post by John Lansing,
John Lansing started his career as an actor in New York City. He spent a year at the Royale Theatre playing the lead in the Broadway production of “Grease.” He then landed a co-starring role in George Lucas’ “More American Graffiti,” and guest-starred on numerous television shows. During his fifteen-year writing career, Lansing wrote and produced “Walker Texas Ranger,” co-wrote two CBS Movies of the Week, and he also co-executive produced the ABC series “Scoundrels.” John’s first book was “Good Cop, Bad Money,” a true crime tome with former NYPD Inspector Glen Morisano. “The Devil’s Necktie” was his first novel. “Blond Cargo” is the next book in the Jack Bertolino series. A native of Long Island, John now resides in Los Angeles.

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  1. Great advice, John! And us would-be authors, should we ever get past — or even to — that "first draft stage", should absolutely take it to heart.


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