Mentor Monday: Trusting My Gut


I heard back from Claudia yesterday on the two chapters I sent last week.
She had much good to say about the stuff that worked,
and offered a couple excellent points about places I needed to lay a little groundwork.

She also had some thoughts on how to handle a certain plot point.
I’m mulling over her suggestion, taking notes in my trusty notebook as I unravel my thoughts.
So far I’m thinking I need/want to go with my initial idea for this story line
but am mindful that part of me might be rebelling against outside influence.

The thing is, Claudia has had lots and lots of good ideas during this revision process.
I’ll have an idea and she’ll tweak it just a tiny bit to make it an even better idea.
I’m thrilled that my story is so much stronger than before
but I’ve also had a few insecure moments in which I wonder if the improvements are because of her or me.

I’ve never worked one-on-one before to revise an entire manuscript
and am wondering if anyone else has experienced any of these feelings.
Have you ever worried your story is better only because of someone’s input?
Or have I just gone out and invented a whole new brand of writerly neurosis?

6 thoughts on “Mentor Monday: Trusting My Gut

  1. I’ve had moments where my crit partners see something I completely missed — and it’s definitely their help which makes the story stronger — BUT there wouldn’t have been a story to strengthen in the first place if it wasn’t for me (or you).


  2. well . . . uh . . . you really need to ask me this question? i am a total mess when it comes to my writing. i have great betas who help me find those worrisome spots in dialogue or the pacing. and my never ending typos.

    my crit partner is amazing. she makes subtle tweaks and suggestions that are wonderful. i lover her for it. and i know the story would be less without her. however, we have a different writing style. so sometimes her suggestions give me pause . . . i am not sure what to do with them. this is mainly because i don’t really know what my style is. i mean it is there, but i can’t discern which is style and which is me doing something that only a newbie would do because they don’t know better. so i find myself wondering if the changes are good for me or good for her or good for the story. 90% of them i know make things better. i can see it. my gut knows it. but that 10% is in this place of “i just don’t know,” and i have to decide for myself what i want and don’t want.

    i think those little areas keep the story mine. those are my choices. my touches (for better or worse). and honestly any change i make or decide not to make represents my power over the story. i have to decide what is best. i have to push aside my pride, insecurities, or frustrations and decide for the story.


    • “i have to push aside my pride, insecurities, or frustrations and decide for the story.”
      Ah, this is it. I need to remember my decisions are “for the story.”

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share your process, Tracy. I really appreciate the insights.


  3. I had a point in my first chapter where I knew what I wanted to show, but I couldn’t find a way to say it without either an info dump or not-quite-right wording. I turned the page(s) over to someone I’ve dubbed my online mentor. He got back to me with an improved version that was exactly what I was looking for. I started to worry which of us was writing this book. Here’s the blurb I got:

    It oftentimes takes as many as 20 people to get a story written.

    So, no, you’re not inventing a new writer’s neurosis. And, yes, it’s okay to make the most of whateve help you can get. Write on!


    • “It oftentimes takes as many as 20 people to get a story written.” I love this! Thanks so much for the encouragement. I’m feeling much more my own writer-person today.


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