This first appeared on irevuo as a guest post for Cristian Mihai’s The Midnight Muse on 5 February 2013.
Not everyone will “like” your story or your style. For example, if a reader craves a good urban fantasy adventure, and you offer a work more similar to James Joyce than Nalini Singh, that reader probably won’t like it, and they will likely tell you that you don’t have enough action, or characters, or other stuff. Now, if you are trying to write an adventure story, that may be good advice, but if you are trying to write a John Irving-like exploration of humanity, maybe their comments don’t apply. Or, maybe they are worth examining, but not worth trashing your entire novel.
When listening to your test readers and editors, keep in mind the story you want to write might not be the one they want to read right now. That’s okay. In and of itself, it doesn’t mean that they are dumb or your novel is dreadful. It just means that this person is not your audience.
Write your story. Write it with the best you have in you. Push it, push yourself, revise it, revise yourself, demand the best of it and yourself, love it, and remember, it’s your story. Write it your way.