Never have I ever come across so many pieces of advice on writing fiction than when I joined all social media platforms under the title ‘author’. Every single person you encounter can tell you what is wrong with your novel, how your clichés are too much, how your characters are too predictable, how you are writing stereotypically instead of knowledgeably. I would hazard a guess that you read this title and thought one of two things. Either you thought; “wow, she thinks a lot of herself” or “oh gosh, what else have I done wrong?” While I absolutely adore our community and how helpful a room full of writers can be, the fact of the matter is that sometimes there is such thing as too many opinions.
If you are writing a novel you are tackling a feat that very few can even dream of. Anybody can have a blockbuster idea, the minority of people can turn it into something real. So I am not here to tell you what you’ve forgotten or done wrong, I’m here to tell you that you are doing something very right. You are telling your story. It is yours to own, to nurture, and to cherish. Whether your depiction of mental health is identical to somebody’s reality, or your humorous dialogue of a bilingual character trying to speak to their friends is true to form or not, it does not make your work any less credible. Honestly, I am writing from experience in my work and I am also writing fantasy which pretty much entitles me to write absolute gobbledigook and it will still work. You have free rein to tell a story however you wish to do so. The only thing you are doing wrong is not having confidence in that.
“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” – W. Somerset Maugham
Taking constructive criticism, edits, and reviews is a natural part of being an author. We all have to accept that people will love, hate, and be indifferent towards our work. We do not, however, have to take everybody’s opinion on board to the point that we change our art. Sometimes a suggestion is just that. So when somebody tries to tell you that what you’re writing is incorrect, stop and consider if what they are saying is true, or if you are writing from your own reality. This post was inspired by several pins on Pinterest that suggest how you should go about writing specific presentations and experiences. While I find them helpful in small doses, I am not about to lose faith in my own mind and knowledge. You shouldn’t either.
Let me know what you think in the comments!