“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.”—Neil Gaiman
After I read Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules of Writing, I began to think about this one rule.
My daughter and I are fascinated with houses, and we have the small experience of flipping one. We have done design work, improvements, and renovations on our own houses, but only one flip.
The similarity here is that when my daughter and I walk into a house, we get a feeling about it. At first, we don’t know what is wrong, but if we take a moment to look and to think, we see how small changes to the house would change the vibes for the better.
Probably when people are reading your work, they are tuning into the vibes, and they can feel when something is off. They know it isn’t working for them. However, fixing it is not their job. And I would agree with Gaiman that a reader’s fix would more than likely be wrong.
A few days ago I mentioned my book’s title to a friend, and she turned up her nose. I trust her to sense that something is off, but I do not trust her to fix it. She likes the macabre, the bizarre, the weird, I don’t, but I trust her nose to smell a rat or a mouse, or a little cricket bug that landed on the page.
What are your challenges?