Ignorant and green as can be in the kitchen I followed every detail, assumming the outcome would be good, (c'mon the recipe was in a BIG cookbook!).
The sweet aroma filled our tiny apartment and made our stomachs growl. Yes! I AM CHEF. After my creation cooled, I proudly presented my prize winning, delectible dessert.
My husband and I took one bite--wrinkled our noses, choked down the bite,and threw the rest away. I think the powdered orange Kool-aid ingredient might have been the problem.
Duh, you say? Well, yeah, I know that now. But I didn't then. I assumed the expert who compiled the cookbook gave perfect advice.
Lesson learned: Regarding advice, I must reseach, think, practice, not assume--the list trails for miles.
Have you ever had a well meaning friend, family member, or crit partner give you advice for your WIP? I have.
I have a world of mentors. Each, bless their hearts, has taken time to correct my novice mistakes and direct me back to the road of publication. I so appreciate them. Unfortunately, not all advice is good. Let me repeate that--not all advice is good. (think orange Kool-aid in banana bread from a BIG cookbook)
This last month I talked with published writers, unpublished crit partners, family, co-workers, friends, online sites, anyone who would listen to my plethorea of questions regarding my WIP. I felt like a little puppy excited to please each helper by implementing their advice into my work. Puppies can do crazy things when they want to please.
My mistake: choosing to please rather than do what is right. (sometimes right means to follow advice given even when you don't want to, FYI)
At the 2011 October ACFW Montana chapter meeting, Sharon Dunn, author of Night Prey (Love Inspired Suspense) and 2011 Carol winner, chatted with me about this topic. She said, "It's important to know the perspective each crit person brings to their comments. Perhaps one crit person's passion is description, another plot, yet another grammar. These same crit persons often add additional suggestions that may seem inappropriate. Thats when caution is wise."
Lesson learned: don't disregard a crit when incorrect advice is detected (add grammatically incorrect words, backstory components, and etc.) Instead, search each comment for possible golden nuggets which might enhance the product. One golden nugget could make a difference between publication and dust.
Contrary to my banana bread flop, let me share a FAB advice session:
At the 2011 ACFW conference my registration slip indicated my time slots for three mentor appointments would be Friday morning. I chose to start my morning at Jeff Gehrke's class "Plot vs Characters rather than figit in the waiting area.
Oddly enough, the next point Jeff discussed addressed the issue Gayle mentioned. He spent the next 30 minutes teaching the class how to solve the problem! I modified my pitch in time for my next mentor appointment.
Advice from mentors educated, experienced, enthusiastic,and enlightened in the writing craft coupled with a technique class sped me back to the road of publication--unlike orange koolaid advice.
Lesson learned: I am responsible to glean wise advice from those God sends my way.
So-how about you--share wise advice you've received--don't be shy, I don't want to learn it on my own:)