After Liz's wonderful blog yesterday about which battles to fight on edits, I started thinking about all the changes I've made to Awaken the Highland Warrior because of someone else's opinion. We all know how valuable an outside perspective is to our writing, because we just can't see everything that's there or that isn't there. I find myself thinking something is on the page because in my head it was all laid out nice and pretty, when in fact I'd zoned out and left a gaping hole.
Liz talked about editors and handling edits. I ran into this with edits on both the first and second books of the secret warrior series. Most of the time, I found my editor was right, at least partially. Even if I didn't think so at first, once I really thought it over, her suggestions made sense. There were some exceptions. She'll never like suspense as much as I do, and I suspect she'll always battle me on that. I didn't like the publisher changing the title from Awaken the Warrior to Awaken the Highland Warrior, but I understand why they did, and it probably will sell more books. I didn't like changing my wonderful cliffhanger ending in book one to a smaller cliffhanger, but I listened and I compromised.
But it isn't just editors who are voices in our ear. We have critique partners, beta readers, and our agent. When Christine first signed me, after she'd gone through my story thoroughly, it was like the old cliche'...new writers should just cut the first chapter because they usually start the story too soon. Sure enough, she told me to cut the first chapter. I liked that chapter. It showed the discovery of the treasure map and the heroine putting together the clues and her eerie journey through the graveyard to find her treasure. BUT, when I cut it, I saw that Christine was right. My first chapter was lovely, but it slowed the pace down too much for my genre.
We also have critique partners who are so important, but this is where my question comes today. I only have one critique partner. Most of you have met Dana. I don't know what I'd do without her. She knows what I'm thinking even when I can't express it. She reins me in when I'm going into left field and kicks my plot in the butt when I'm not empowering it enough. So, how do you manage more than one CP? Or horror of horrors, an entire critique group. I know people who say they have groups that send out so many pages per month. I've never understood how those writers have time to write if they're spending so much time critiquing other writers' work. And the bigger question: How do those writers deal with the number of voices chiming in on a story? I've heard writers talk about their story getting so watered down with so many opinions that the story became perfectly dull, not even their story anymore. And editors saying they could tell a story had been critique partnered to death because it had no voice. I'm curious. If anyone has several CP's, does it get confusing? Is it a brilliant editing tool that I'm missing? I would love to know.