Is it really July already? How did that happen? I am deep into the revisions stage of Saronna's Gift. When I give a manuscript to my writing group, I always have to weigh their comments against my own sense of what the story is about and what tone I am going for. As you can tell by looking at almost any book's Amazon reviews, people have varied taste. What one person finds edgy, someone else will see as too dark. What one reader admires in a character will sometimes make other readers dislike him intensely. This is why Baskin-Robbins makes 31 flavors!
The group has been in existence for about 20 years, although the membership has varied during that time. One “new” member just rejoined the group because she retired and finally has time to write again. Another is new-new, as he had only attended a few meetings. The folks who have been in the group for years do have some predictability in their critiques of stories submitted. One guy always wants more physical description of the characters. One woman always loves the character everyone else hates. And one bloodthirsty guy always wants the writer to kill off one or more characters.
When I review the comments my fellow writers have made, I look for two things. First is consensus. Is there something everyone hated or thought didn't work? Because if so, that is something I need to change. The second thing is harder to pin down. Does a suggestion resonate with me, with what I want the story to be? Because it's my story, and no matter how interesting an idea sounds, of it doesn't make the book into the story I want to tell, then it's a suggestion I won't use.
At least not with this book. But I save everything. A writer is really a kind of idea vampire. He or she feeds off chance observations, friends' life struggles, newspaper items, and anything else that comes his way. It's what we do!