It happens, we can all get so used to our own stench, that the person telling you about your need for a shower sounds certifiably insane. However, it happens, every single writer has stored away in their memory, the story of a time when they got so caught up in their own story that no one could steer them away.
“Don’t you think it might get a tad confusing if all of the characters are named Bob?”
“No,” says the writer.
“I couldn’t follow it at all. Which Bob is saying what? Is it one person talking to himself? Can you possibly Name them Bob, Bob1, Bob2, Bob3 or something.”
“No. You do not understand. I’m trying to say names are useless.”
“Yeah, uh that’s great and all but it’s way too confusing. Can you at least say Male Bob said blah blah blah?”
“No, you just don’t understand my vision.”
Eventually; however, the writer will pull her head out of her butt, and realize that you know a book where everyone is named Bob with no identification markers might be a little confusing and no one will want to read it. It takes time for it to sink in or for you to realize it.
It happens to everyone. At this moment, I am editing a story that has a number of big problems that at first I fought with people about. There are rapid perspective changes, which make it hard for the reader to ground himself within the story and live the experience. In addition, an action sequence in the story is nowhere near as fleshed out as it needs to be. There is also a scene with someone washing and drying clothing that I wrote excessively too much details about. The details are so overbearing that during a recent reading I said to myself, “enough with the damn laundry already!”
Nevertheless, it took me months to distance myself enough from that one story to see it. I wanted to strangle the last person who told me the perspective changes were taking away from the power of the story. I sat there and listed to myself how necessary for my vision it was that these perspective changes take place. I sought out other stories where it happened and showed them that there are writers, more established than they are, that had done perspective changes, and it worked for the story. Did it work for my story? No, it did not. Did it turn a potentially awesome story into something mediocre? Yes, it did and if I had just been willing to accept the criticism, I would have been able to fix it sooner.
So if someone does not see why you need to use the word infinite to describe everything in your story. That they do not understand how important it is to say, “His eyes were infinitely large. She loved him so very much she felt she could kiss his infinitely moist lips forever.” Just write it down, put it to the side, and then listen. Keep your original draft but take that sentence and rewrite it. Do not use infinite. Ban yourself from it and see if the sentence sounds better. Maybe that moron who gave you the advice was not nearly as stupid as you thought they were. The point is, unless you burn your previous drafts or save over them (always save each new draft under a new file by the way) you can get it back. No change is permanent. So take the breath, write it down, and try it out. The only person that can get hurt is the character and they are not even real.
Do you have any tips accepting criticism? Leave a comment below.