One of my crit partners said something to me the other day that really struck home. We were discussing critiquing and how much our manuscripts tend to change (sometimes very drastically) according to the opinions of our CP’s.
She told of an author she knew who was working on edits with her agent. That author sent her revised manuscript to several CP’s, only to end up revising more before sending the manuscript back to the agent. When it finally arrived in the agent’s inbox, the agent was disappointed because the author had changed so much that the book had lost the all-important voice. And the voice was the thing the agent loved the most about the book.
So I wonder. How many opinions are too many? How many times do you revise before you end up sucking the voice out of your manuscript? Or, if you’re not a writer, how much criticism on your creative endeavors will you accept before you lose the drive to create entirely?
I don’t think there’s a solid answer to this question, but I do think we know when we reach that point. Or at least, we should.
Having critique partners is a blessing, for sure. But as in all things, too much of a good thing can hurt you. It’s a fine line to walk. And I think comes down to us having the courage and confidence to know the difference between comments that make us better, and comments that turn our work into something we never meant for it to be.
Just something to think about.