Hey all. I have been giving some very in depth critiques about my work, but they contradict one another. Where one person says the section is well crafted, another says it’s bland. Where one person says the story is interesting, another says its cliché and boring. What’s the best way to implement the advice given to me? A lot of it is simply general advice about structure and general wordiness, but other parts… well, they’re contradictory!
As the author, while it is important to take input, it is your book at the end of the day. Everyone will have their own opinions on a book and it’s your choice on how to implement it or not.
If one person says they found it exciting but another says it was bland, then look at the comments if they have detail! Analyze them and see if they work well with what you want for the story.
Not every piece of advice will be beneficial to your story, and some will be very helpful. Only you can figure out how it will improve your story. Good luck
Thanks for the reply! The ones saying it’s cliché are the ones who my book is not aimed at, however I would still like to take their comments on board. They’ve all gone into depth about their comments, but I don’t know what the best way to change my work around would be. Thanks for the advice, I think I will take their comments into consideration, but fit them around what I feel the work should be, too.
I think the best way to go about it is to look at who has more experience critiquing per se, and who can look at your work objectively. Cliches can still be good! Some writers can sugarcoat more than others, and some can hold back. But if you’re getting conflicting comments then it may be worth getting more critiques to look at the general consensus rather than just a few. At the end of the day, the draft you have now will change a lot compared to your final draft – so just shape your novel the way you’d like to see it. Good luck!
Another thing I’d like to ask here, is that people are saying one part is unbelievable. My characters are fine, but the plot is farfetched. However, they’re saying that a 22 year old getting a mortgage on a home is farfetched. It isn’t. After looking at house prices in the area, I worked out the mortgage price and duration and how much she’d need for a downpayment. I assumed it was a given people could get mortgages for low downpayments, at least where I live and where my book is set, 20% is a common down. Should I further explain this? Thanks.
@EmilyCharlotteCooled Thanks for the input. I will get more crits to see what others say about it!
OK, I’m gonna second the critics here, but getting a mortgage at 22 is quite far-fetched (unless you have rich parents). It’s not really the downpayment, but it’s the pre-existing debts and bills people have vs. their salary that holds them back. So the main thing you need to think of is how much debt and how many bills you have to pay vs income (and then finally how much your character can save each month). Debts like student loans, car payments etc will hold you back. I’m 21 and currently living in a rented two bed semi-detached – there is no way I could afford a mortgage. I know people in their 30’s still renting as they can’t afford a mortgage. You could try and convince the readers, but it’ll be hard. If you want your character a little more relatable I’d change this up some what, as it is a tad hard to believe.
Another thing I should note, is that a lot of 22 year old’s won’t have a salary yet nor a permanent source of income. This is one of the major things that holds people back, and sadly a lot of jobs nowadays quite commonly are short-term (anything from 3 month posts to 3 year posts). So a lot of people won’t want the financial investment (and possible risk and ruin) of a mortgage in the event they lose their job or have their income reduced. If you want to save yourself a headache, just say the character rented somewhere
When it comes to general advice such as if it’s bland, cliche, or boring, it comes down to you and what you think is best for the story. You can’t please everyone, and that’s an issue for all of us. Even if we write something totally amazing, accurate, and original, we will still have people saying the exact opposite. Even though, in a lot of cases, they’re wrong. I had a story where the main character was at her fiance’s funeral and she started crying and one of her friends had asked her, “Are you okay?” Well, I had a critic who said to get rid of this part because obviously, she wasn’t okay, and it was unrealistic. I didn’t follow this advice because it’s not unrealistic. People ask this phrase all the time, if they’re crying, if they look sad, or whatever. It’s been done to me and I’ve said it to people before, too. Obviously, they’re not okay, but you still ask anyway to get them to talk. And that was the purpose of the situation in the book.
In the end, you have to realize that you’re looking at it from different perspectives. Not only as a writer, but also a reader and a critic. As a reader, you’re thinking, “Would I read this? Would I like it? Would I squeal at this scene? Would I ship the characters?” And as a critic, you’re looking at the technicalities. Sometimes, we can’t really see the issues because it’s like our child. We love it so much that we can’t rip it apart. But as a critic, you have to take your emotions out of the equation and see where the other critics are coming from. You can also ask them to further their explanation, like “Why do you think it’s cliche or boring?” But still, re-read what you wrote in a new mindset and see if you can place why they said these things.
I once had a reader who started loving the book and would leave votes and comments in chapters. Well, she read up to at least eleven or twelve chapters and had left a comment saying, “This is becoming cliche.” And stopped reading. She also stopped following me. I had asked her to explain her thoughts, but she never replied. Instead, it seemed like right after my story, she vanished because she stopped being active on Wattpad.
So this got me to think: what do I do now? I took a month off writing and instead, revised all the chapters I had written. I deleted scenes, I adding more to the story, and once I got to the part where she said “This is becoming cliche,” I tried to wrap my head around it. What could make it cliche? What about this scene, the characters, or what was happening that made it overused?
I took my emotions and my thoughts out of the picture and thought to myself, “If I was reading this as a brand new reader, what would I think?” And honestly? I never saw anything overused about it. I did see some areas that could use a little tweaking, but there was nothing else that I could do. The scene was fine.
You will come across readers that are very picky and some, very opinionated. They have thoughts on what they want the story to be. For example, in Divergent’s last book, a main character had died and everyone went ballistic when they read it. They cursed the book and made it out to be the most horrible thing ever. When really? There was a purpose to their death and it was meaningful and helped the story grow.
So no matter what you do, it won’t really make much of a difference because readers will still be the opposite.
You just have to take a step back and ask yourself if they’re right. Be open-minded and see if their advice works for your story and helps improve it.
See, the problem is, virtually everyone I know has access to a mortgage as well as a salary. It’s just sort of how things are done here. My boyfriend didn’t even consider going to college yet it on 25k a year looking at 30k this year, and he’s 21. My friend has a mortgage on his house with under three years to pay it off now, and he is 22. It’s really not hard to get a mortgage where I am, nor in the area where I said it was. MC has no student loans to pay (and, where I am, and where the story is set, student loans aren’t scary. They’re automatically deducted every month after you pass a threshold, and you aren’t held at gunpoint to pay them), and the car has been paid off by her parents. I’m really confused as to why this is unbelievable, as virtually everyone I know right now is either in very lush rented housing or has a mortgage down in their name with no parents helping them. How should I go about explaining this without pointing them in the direction of banks, and showing them maths?
Thanks for the advice, really makes me think!
You’re in England, right? I’m in Wales, so there’s no major differences there. You can try and sell it to the reader, and hope that they can connect with the character regarding mortgages. By the sounds of it you’re from a very affluent area of England, and good on your friends for having their own mortgages. I know literally no one with a mortgage, those who went to university and those who didn’t. Quite a lot of working professionals (25 year olds police officers, post-docs etc) are still having to live in rented accommodation. But like I said, it’s highly unusual for a 22 year old to have a mortgage partly due to lack of decent salary and the financial risk that comes with it. Student loans aren’t scary, but it’s still a deduction that’ll be a pain in the ass until it gets cancelled out.
Nope, I’m in Birmingham, a cesspit of filth LOL. I’m very confused, because if my credit history wasn’t ruined through no fault of my own, I could’ve had my hands on my own home by now, too. The characters parents have sorted her car, MC has confirmed she is struggling to meet the payments but has always worked and is eating through her savings. Is there a way I could do this? Renting would be ridiculously unbelievable, because rents are muuuuuch higher than mortgages in most cases hmmm
ANYWAY, I’ve gone off topic! Thanks for the advice. Any further input on implementing the crits?
Lol well I honestly have no idea how you guys are affording it then, even in Birmingham. If there’s a secret to cash let me know cause my friends and I are broke af. (Mind you I kind of want to know how much the average house in Birmingham is now lol). All I know is that until I hit post-doc / professor level I won’t be affording much haha. I think the only convincing way is that you make sure the MC has a decent job with a believable salary?
Ha, they all work in decent jobs, BF is in the IT sector, friends are all in other sectors. It’s really not hard, which is why I’m confused! Haha. (Btw, buying a flat in city center can cost as little at 95k. The house I had my eyes on is two bed, 145k I mean, the penthouses can be over a mil, and THAT would be hard to get a mortgage on at 22!)
If the readers are disbelieving the mortgage plot point it may be necessary to just include a casual line somewhere about how this isn’t unusual for the area where the characters live.
It’s natural for readers to react according to their own culture and expectations and in some regions getting a mortgage young would be an issue.
As others have said, there are areas that have a really high cost of living and where one would need a good credit rating and proven adequate income to get bank approval. The readers who are surprised are probably from these areas.
Ah good idea about hinting that it’s not usual! I think I’ll try to add that in! Thanks!
Lol yeah I avoid England as much as possible. I’ve got a mate down in London doing woodworking for this design company, and out of everyone from my school he’s done the best. Got a nice big salary, apartment, and goes shopping in Milan every month. But other than that, the rest of us are still living at our parents when we’re not at university lol. So when you were like “oh anyone can get a mortgage at 22” I was like “hang on a sec”. Mind you, if you didn’t go university and worked from 16 or 18, then you’d probs be higher up on the payroll then the rest of us at the same age.
Exactly haha, I went to uni for a week, and now self employed. If I actually did the hours I should do, I could be debt free and in my own place in no time, but I feel you! I left my parents house when I was 19, and it was stressful to begin with… but I was struggling to understand why it’s so unbelievable. I know not everyone has the same advantages in life, but basing off what I know and have seen happen IRL, I’m pretty sure it’s realistic, idk lol
Fair play! I’m still at university, just finished my undergrad and now moving onto do a PhD. But the downside of staying in academia is always moving for the job, so since you’re on 3 year contracts it’s easier to rent than to get a mortgage and have to move again. But when you compare the salary of academia vs. industry (private sector and whatnot) the difference is massive, so that may be why a lot of people I know who I went to university with are worse off maybe? I don’t know, food for thought at 10:47pm haha.