So I've decided to talk about advice—more specifically, knowing when to listen to the good advice of others, who obviously have more common sense than you, and knowing when to show a little spine and make up your own mind. If you were wondering, no, I'm not directing this at any one in particular, Aryli.
Let's take Sam for example.
She just entered the first 250 words of Aryli's story into some contest for something. If you don't know what I'm talking about check a couple of posts ago, because, frankly, the whole publishing thing confuses me. Besides, I'm still not sure how exactly Sam got her hands on that story in the first place. I mean, don't you people have rules about using other people's lives without their permission to tell stories? And don't think I don't see through that whole calling it "a novel" thing. Please.
Where was I? Oh, right... Sam as an example. She's gotten all this feedback on the opening, and she's printed it out. Now what?
On the one hand, books are written for readers. These commenters are readers. But, just because some anonymous Internet reader thinks she's an authority on all things pertaining to first pages, does that mean Sam should start changing everything blogposter1 didn't like?
(By the way, Sam, obviously the answer is no. I'm not sure how well my sarcasm comes through on this thing, but I was rolling my eyes. This is why in-person conversation is SO much better. Ugh.)
On the other hand, clearly these people don't know what Aryli's story is about, and they don't know were it's headed—like Sam does. Does that means she should just laugh at their ignorance, call them fools, and burn their comments in a trash can?
(Okay, Sam, not only is that dangerous, but I've never heard you mention winning any of those fancy writing awards you people crave. It's not like you're so much better than other writers that you get to sneer down at them from your ivory tower. Plus, this is Aryli's story. You damn well better make it the best it can be, especially the parts with me. Speaking of which, I've got a bone to pick. See me after, young lady.)
Anyway...where does that leave Sam and her helpful (or not) comments? Should she just continue staring at them and ANJIDIA hoping they magically address themselves?
No, really, that was a question. If I told you the answer, then this wouldn't be a post about advice. It'd be one about answers. Obviously.
Fine, I will say this: If a majority of readers are saying the same things, then it's no longer "one person's opinion"; it's crossed over into public opinion territory. I'll let Aryli or Miqqal tackle a conversation about public opinion some other day. But even I know that you can't ignore public opinion if your goal requires it to succeed. And you can't argue with it. All you can do is locate its source and start making changes, which will always take time.
Have fun with that.