Monday, July 13, 2015

3 Questions for a Teachable Writer

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Are you a teachable writer?

Something I have learned on this road to publication, is there are more opportunities to learn than to prove your stuff is untouchable.

  My first reaction to criticism used to be...(see photo;)).

But now? 

I feel the sting, drop my shoulders in defeat, and then take a few deep breaths.

My reaction has become...
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Hmmm...I need to listen, think, and maybe apply. 

Three questions I ask myself:

1. Does this advice compromise my voice? 

If I have established my style, then I need to apply advice as best as I can with out forfeiting my voice. I must weave the advice with my voice in mind to take my writing to the next level in my own unique way.

2. Does this advice compromise my craft? 

Most contest judges and critiquers are still learning (um, do we ever stop learning??). So I must be able to discern what is good advice on craft and what is sub-par. (This means that I need to be well-read on craft). When a critique pushes me to better my craft, then I should try and apply it.

3. Does this advice compromise my purpose for writing this story? 

Sometimes, a crit just misses the mark on what the whole vision and purpose of the story, BUT, if I've laid it out clearly, then they shouldn't miss it. If the advice does dismiss my story's purpose...then maybe there's something that needs to be changed on my end to clear it up.  If the advice seems to line up with my purpose and offers a way to make that purpose clearly-defined or stronger...then, it's time to apply!

After receiving feedback, I remind myself that this whole process is about getting my purposeful story out to the potential hearts that are meant to read it. 
Without compromising my voice, my craft, or my purpose, criticism is welcome to make my story shine bright and clear.

Have you had good advice? Bad advice? What have you been willing to compromise to make your story better?
Angie Dicken is a full-time mom and lives in the Midwest with her Texas Aggie sweetheart. An ACFW member since 2010, she has written five Historical Romance novels, has a Historical underway, and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. Angie also spends her time designing one-sheets and drinking good coffee with great friends. Check out her author page at, her personal blog at and connect at:
Twitter: @angiedicken


kaybee said...

Thank you, Angie. With contests especially, I try to follow the rule of two out of three, or however many judges I get. If the CONSENSUS is that something's off, I usually look at it and usually work on it. You have to consider the source, too. I was in a critique group a few years ago with someone who was contemptuous of my entire genre, hello, that would never have worked. We have to take it in the same mature manner we accept criticism in our day jobs, if we have them. Except that nobody is making us do THIS. And in the day job, we often don't have the luxury of saying, "I'll think this one over."
Kathy Bailey

Julia M. Reffner said...

Great questions! And love the graphic to go with it!

Angie Dicken said...

Yea, absolutely! I have had criticism and could tell that the judge did not care for the actual time period of the novel. I am careful to check my heart before entering a contest now. Is it because I want kudos, or do I really want feedback? It is great to find critique groups or hired editors to get feedback too. Thanks for stopping by today and yesterday!

Angie Dicken said...

Thanks Julia! I am a little obsessed with picmonkey!!

Cara Putman said...

This is great advice, Angie. Being teachable is a key part of writing. As long as you keep asking your questions, you're on the right track.