I had several people read the second draft of my novel, then I put all their comments into one document, and that’s the file I’m working from now. I put an initial at the beginning of each comment so I’d know whose suggestion it was, then went on my merry way.
Following Monday’s post, another writerly rule of thumb is that if several people tell you a certain scene or passage isn’t working for them, even if they can’t tell you why, you need to rework that scene. If only one person does, it could just be that person. (That gets into dangerous territory because in theory that one person could represent a large amount of people, but that’s something I fight with myself about. I don’t want to get into that here. Unless you want to, of course.) What’s amusing to me is when two people have polar opposite reactions.
I recently came to a flashback scene where an important piece of information is revealed about several characters. The flashback is split into two parts within one chapter and probably totals three or four pages. I know some people think you should never ever use flashbacks, but I like them and only use them a couple times. (I swear I avoid info dumps.)
One of my readers told me I needed to condense the flashback into a couple sentences. Said it went on way too long and pulled the reader out of the story. Another reader said they loved the layers of my story and how I’m slowly unpeeling them to reveal information.
Two totally different reactions to the same piece of writing. Both from writers I respect, and ironically, writers with similar writing styles and genres.
So which opinion would you go with?
(I’ve actually made my decision, I’m just curious how you would handle it.)