Murakami on "Critique"
I'm reading Haruki Murakami's "Novelist as a Vocation" -largely a collection of things he's written about writing but with enough new content and organized in a way that I find inspiring enough to carry on with.
Anyway, he says at one point that when his first readers (his wife and whichever editor he's working with) raise any objections about a scene -tho he might reject their ideas, even get mad about them- he rewrites those scenes from begining to end.
He says he's learned that, even if they were mistaken about whatever they thought was wrong, they'd detected that something was, and that these rewrites generally improved those scenes.
I learned something from this, but it also falls-in with my notion of critique as a great plow sent to turn over the hard-packed crust of our "best" writing, so that it can breathe, become productive once again.
I read a really great article recently by Murakami about how he found his style... but naturally I can't find it. Mayhap it was someone on here that directed me to it in the first place.
I've found that when I tweak on a micro-level it's a coin-toss whether I make things better or worse. I'm beginning to think that I should take a leaf from Murakami's book and redo whole scenes instead. Surely, with the comments in mind and the whole scene treated holistically, the outcome is likely to be better?
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He tells a story about when an editor objected to some scenes,, where the guy said it should be shorter, he made it longer & etc. But he also said it was improved. I think he means to say, there are issues with a scene when people feel there are and rewriting is then in order, no matter what the specific comments are
That's an interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing it - in hindsight, a few of my scenes went that way as well.
“Stories are the collective wisdom of everyone who has ever lived. Your job as a storyteller is not simply to entertain. Nor is it to be noticed for the way your turn a phrase. You have a very important job—one of the most important. Your job is to let people know that everyone shares their feelings—and that these feelings bind us. Your job is a healing art, and like all healers, you have a responsibility. Let people know they are not alone. You must make people understand that we are all the same.”
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