Know that saying, too many chefs spoil the broth? Or too many cooks or whatever the saying is. Well it's true on so many levels. There are definitely advantages to having a good support system while you're working on a project. But when you've invested so much time and energy in something and then the support you get back is only trying to make it their way...You get the picture.
I love my novel class. The others in the group are very strong writers and on most occasions offer incredibly valid feedback. What's working, what's not. But on occasion you get one or two that do not look at the big picture. Nitpicking over grammatical errors, things that don't seem logical to them because they wouldn't do it and apparently don't swing in circles with people that would. But what's good for one person, is not always good for another.
Take for example, in my novel, the opening chapter in fact, my main character comes home at 5am, she has not gone to bed (to sleep at least) and when she returns home finds her brother in her house. She confronts her brother and cracks open a bottle of wine. 5am, wine. Okay, not the norm per se, but what's to say that that particular character does not drink in the morning? There are other circumstances that lead her to be this way. Emotional and stressful issues. To me, not a far stretch. To most of the other group, reasonable too. But to one particular participant, this act bothered them, because they wouldn't do it so apparently no one did it.
In some of my younger days, I would go out to night clubs, would come home at obscene hours of the morning and often would continue to drink. Okay so I was young and thought I was having fun, and I most certainly wouldn't do that now. Hell, I don't think I even remember what the inside of a night club looks like. But now, yes, I would come home and go to sleep. But that does not mean someone else wouldn't.
How is that kind of feedback even constructive?
In other areas it's apparent that my main character is struggling with a situation she doesn't know how to deal with. In a flashback we see her as a pretty strong and somewhat aggressive person. But later, she is more withdrawn. That is what multi-layered refers to. So the question arises on how could she be one way and then another way later? D'uh. Wake up people. Even in everyday life, if you're a strong, out-going person, there are often circumstances that will cause you to withdraw. Maybe only temporarily until you find your footing but it would still happen. You won't know it until it happens and it will be out of character, but not unbelievable because you're living it. I know I touched on this before. And maybe I am completely off base but I don't feel that I am.
But then there is the structural feedback I have been getting. I have been struggling with the format, the points of view between chapters and who is an important character and who isn't. The feedback I got, made me realize that of course, my antagonist has to be an important part of the story but there is so much backstory that needs to come out about the antagonist but I couldn't find the right vehicle to do so. I tried something that I thought worked, I rethought it, changed it and then finally stumbled on something that did seem to be working. The back story is great story but as it turns out, the delivery vehicle may still not be working the way I thought. The feedback has been helpful but frustrating at the same time. Just when you think you have it figured out, you don't.
Regardless, I have made a commitment to not think about it for the time being. To just keep writing because otherwise I will stall. Then when the first draft is complete, I can start fresh.
Without all the extra spice and taste-testing.