the weather in patagonia

As a yet-unpublished writer, I don’t have to deal with public reviews of my work. You might think I have to deal with criticism right here in the comments section of this blog, but you would be wrong. I’m king of this blog. I can block any comment/commenter I don’t like at any time! (I’ve never blocked a comment, truth be told, but it makes me feel powerful to know I could. Let me have my small victories.)

But, the fact that my work isn’t formally reviewed doesn’t mean I don’t deal with reviews. Every time I share a story with a friend or ask what someone thinks about an idea I have, I get hit with a review. Invariably, there is something that could be tweaked to make it better.

Now, to be clear, I thank my lucky stars to have friends who give me honest feedback. More often than not, I use that feedback, making adjustments that typically strengthen my stories and help them grow. I have smart friends. Most of what they tell me is worth listening to.

Except, sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes I have faith in my story as is, convoluted themes and all, and I don’t want to change it. Sometimes I feel like changing certain things would compromise the story, itself. I mean, I can’t change the fundamental nature of the thing. I’m a writer. My job is to tell the story, and sometimes the story knows how it wants to be told and I’m just along for the ride.

In those times, when someone gives me negative feedback about something I have faith in, I like to think on what one of my favorite writers once said about bad reviews:

A bad review is even less important than whether it is raining in Patagonia.

Iris Murdoch

If you like your story as is, if you have faith in it and believe it needs to be told as you have told it, then stand by it. Everyone won’t like everything you write, and that’s just fine. It’s more important that you like what you write.

Unless, of course, you secretly want to be a meteorologist in Patagonia.

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About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

7 Responses to the weather in patagonia

  1. Ms. Nine says:

    Have you censored your comments? Just wondering…

    Like

  2. I agree with Iris! And with you. Write your heart out, Write what you believe. That’s what counts.

    Like

  3. Julie says:

    I think part of it is knowing the difference between a legitimate problem and their personal taste. You’re right, you won’t please all people all the time. It’s not possible. But sometimes it’s quality issues, and sometimes your writing isn’t to their taste. The hard part is knowing the difference sometimes, knowing when you love something too much to acknowledge you’re wrong. I’ve seen writers do that more than a few times in my life.

    Like

    • dex says:

      You make an excellent point. I really like this quote from Neil Gaiman: “Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”

      Like

      • Julie says:

        Such a wise man. He’s right. And that’s part of how I weed through the feedback. I’ll listen when they tell me something is wrong, but I never rewrite the way they might suggest. Sometimes what they think is the problem isn’t really the problem. That’s happened more than once.

        Like

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