Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wednesday Writers Weigh In: Help me trust my gut!

Today I need to hear stories about authors who went with their gut, despite what critics said and they succeeded!  I know those stories are out there.  Jodi Moore, author of the highly-acclaimed WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN (Flashlight Press) shared one such story on my blog a few months ago.

Jodi said that when she took DRAGON to her first NJ SCBWI conference she signed up for two Peer Crit Groups which were each moderated by an editor.  In one group they said it was a great story but she needed to make sure the reader understood that the dragon was real. The other group said she needed to make sure the readers understood that the dragon was imaginary.  And then the editor at Flashlight Press asked her, "Is the dragon real or imaginary?"  Jodi stuck to her original thought and said, "Its for the reader to decide!" And that's just what makes this story so wonderful!

In fact, the marketing for the book really plays up the idea of the reader deciding...proving that Jodi was right all along!

If you build a perfect sandcastle, a dragon will move in.
And that's exactly what happens to one very lucky boy at the beach. Dad is busy sunbathing and Mom is busy with her book, so the boy and dragon roam the beach together, flying a kite, braving the waves, and roasting marshmallows.

But no one believes him when he shares the news of his magnificent dragon: Mom only hears the roar of the ocean, Dad thinks the dragon feather is a seagull feather, and know-it-all sis claims there's no such thing as a dragon.

That's when the sandwiches mysteriously disappear, claw prints are found in the brownies, and dragon-giggles erupt from the strangest of places. Heh-heh-heh.
Is there truly a mischievous dragon running around on the beach or is someone's imagination running wild? Decide for yourself When a Dragon Moves In
.


Congrats, Jodi for listening to your gut and thank you for sharing your story!  It is stories like this that help me when I feel confused about critiques I might receive.

Anyone have another story?  I could use the inspiration...

Writers weigh in!

18 comments:

  1. I think I already may have told you...I have repeated it a few times...an editorial consultant looked at my manuscript and called it a "practice manuscript" and told me to write something else--she suggested a topic I was not at all interested in. I was horrified because almost everyone who had read the manuscript said it was a winner. I trusted my gut, and yeah, that manuscript is getting published! Problem was, this person did not like my style of writing, which is very quirky and out of the box. She was a lyrical, quiet picture book lover. So what I realized is that it boiled down to taste. We didn't share the same taste. So I didn't ask her out to lunch. LOL

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    1. Thank you, Tara! What a great story! And this from the woman who recently sold not ONE book but THREE! You ARE an inspiration!

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    2. I've got a lyrical, smooth, quiet book. Do you think she'd have lunch with ME? LOL

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  2. "When a Dragon Moves In" sounds like a wonderful book. The writing business is subjective. I often receive conflicting advice on the same manuscript and deciding which changes to make can be confusing and frustrating. In the end on a couple of stories I decided to go with what I thought worked and sent them off. One of which was turned down but received some positive feedback. I will to have check back with you and let you know if my gamble pans out.

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    1. Good luck, Rena! I look forward to hearing more as you progress. :)

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  3. Oh Marcie! *heart squish* Thank you so much for this! But here's the thing...it's treasured writer buddies like you who encourage the rest of us to trust in our hearts! So I'm sending a HUGE squishy hug out to you and all the others who have been there to inspire and support me through the self-doubt and rejections...who have been there to celebrate and cheer me through the successes! I could not do what I do without all of YOU! Love & hugs, Jodi <3

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    1. Isn't she the best, folks? Go buy her book! Its amazing. Plus,supporting a fabulous author like Jodi is a good thing. :)

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    2. Okay, now you're just making me *blush*!!! Love you Marcie!!! <3

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  4. Nice story, Tara! Writers try so hard to please the ones capable of publishing their story but I think we ALWAYS need to trust our gut because there are as many different types of publishers, agents, editors, etc as there are writers. We are just challenged to find the right fit for ourselsves...

    Donna L Martin
    www.donnalmartin.com
    www.donasdays.blogspot.com

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    1. Definitely! Its a relationship. God knows "just any ol' guy" doesn't work when looking for a mate. :)

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  5. I am new at this kid lit stuff, been writing hard core for about a year this month, yet, i have a lot of "trusting the gut" experience from my acting career....THAT IS ALL THERE IS! trusting yourself is ALL there is. If you trust yourself fully, you don't have to worry about putting so much trust and faith in the people who are "supposed" to know what they are doing...because you can trust yourself to know the right thing for you, the right people to surround yourself with, and the right paths for your craft. Right now, as I learn more and more about skill and craft, all I have is trusting my gut. It's scary but it is always right. If i fail, I needed to fail in that way to learn something. SO, in the end it's not a failure:) Yay MARCIE!

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    1. So beautifully put, Suzanne! I am new to all of this kidlit stuff too...but I am also trained in the theater. Thank you for reminding me of this crucial piece of foundation.

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  6. Gut Busters! Great idea and thanks for sharing them Marcie!

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    1. And thanks for reading them, Julie. :)

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  7. I'm too stubborn not to trust my gut. Whenever I'm presenting something at my critique group, I listen and discuss, but never write anything down - not one note. I trust that when somebody says something that fits with my vision, I'll remember it. If what they say feels wrong to me, then it's wrong for me. I totally trust my gut.

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    1. I love your confidence, Genevieve! Perhaps you would like to guest blog about this? It would be great to hear further thoughts.

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  8. I continue to struggle with comments about my mss. Some are minor, and I have no issues with them. Others suggest a major revision, deleting characters, or simplifying the text. Those are the issues I wrestle with, and it's not that I am afraid of work! I'm never happy with the major changes, but my stories (up to this point) have never been submitted or accepted by an editor, so I'm not sure who is right. Wish I could help!

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    1. I think the key is to keep sharing your work and keep struggling. Try a rewrite and if it doesn't seem to work, then toss it. But this is how we learn. Thanks for weighing in, Jarm!

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