TO Whom Should I Listen???

     After pouring my heart and creativity into a new story, the most difficult process begins...revisions. I ask my husband (who has NO writing background) to read my first draft for an overall check of tone, arc and character development. I fiddle around or totally rework the story, depending on the feedback.

     Next, I send it out to my two online critique groups. This is where the nail-biting begins! I usually get back a wide range of reactions. From "I love it. Don't change anything." to " Change these ten things because...." 

     While I love feedback, really I do, it can be so confusing to weed out the golden nuggets from the dirt. I have one story to which I have changed the ending three times! Yet, I am still not sure which one fits best. 

    I struggle with recognizing who has the most credibility. We are all aspiring writers and none of us are agents, editors or publishers.  To whom should I listen? 

    Yesterday, I received an email from one of my critique partners, who had shared my story with her five-year-old son three months ago. Out of the blue, he asked his mother " Do you remember that story about that girl with the jar? I really loved it. It showed that anything is possible."

     The ironic part is that I had changed the ending of that story after receiving critiques about it. Now I am considering going back to my original ending which her son enjoyed. 

     The scariest part is that I am the pilot of this plane and I need to ultimately decide where I fly!  Welcome to the push and pull of creativity. But I wouldn't enjoy it any other way!

patricia oppenheim