Everyone has an opinion - be careful who you listen to about your writing!

EVERYONE has an opinion…. But not all opinions should be given equal weight. Be careful who you let influence your writing.

 This is absolutely a cardinal rule, especially for beginning writers. You’ll find your readers fall into roughly two different camps – those who gush about how wonderful your manuscript is (think of your mother here) and those who are critical but can’t be specific in their dislike.

Both are frustrating, I mean everyone wants a rah-rah person to encourage them sometimes. But what you really need at the end of your first draft is critical ANALYSIS.What works, what doesn’t and why. What you need are details.  That’s how you improve the script.  This is something most people can’t give you. Your mom or girlfriend can gush and provide encouragement. Great. Use it to take the next step show your script to someone else and ask them pointed questions. Give them a list …. So you both know the depth of the information you hope to get out of the encounter. When the feedback comes in, weigh it against your gut has already told you are the weak points in the story.  

I recently finished a Science Fiction novel that had a very quiet second act. It was intentional, and was supposed to illustrate something elemental about the main character. One of the key people I showed my manuscript to had never read a Sci-Fi book before (I know, I know…. But I wanted her approval!)  She thought the second act needed a ton of work. She thought the pacing abysmal.  Now, who you gonna believe in this situation – your gut, or your girlfriend.  I have now farmed that manuscript out to an editor who loves Science Fiction and works on it too.  Let’s see what she thinks about the second act.

I’m ready for constructive criticism, but you have to convince me you’re right. And you should take that tactic too with your work. Don’t just believe anybody’s opinion, good or bad. 

I hope that helps. And I wish you good luck with your screenplay.