Pleaser Versus Poser

And here we are. I’m rocking my spring straw hat. No, you may not see. I’m at the computer without a camera.


Um…after I leave work in about 45 minutes, I’ll be holing up to work on the 3rd revision of Abigail Rath, with serious workshop surgery on the beginning. When I run out of battery life, I’ll be reading information on Hammer Studios, also for the book. I will be steeped in horror movie life.


On Wednesday I finished the second draft of Abby’s book. And let me tell you, I really do miss the days when I would have done that, and I would feel any kind of done. Naivete is something to be cherished, inexperienced writers. Later, you can savor it when you look at the mountain of work you still have to do.

On Wednesday, I combed through the workshop notes and made a cheat sheet of concerns I thought I should address. Now, recent reading about workshops suggests that there are a couple of workshop pitfalls that you can fall into.

You can become a pleaser, thinking that if any change is suggested by a workshop, you must integrate it into your work. That way, mediocrity lies.

You can be a poser, listening to all the things your fellow writers say, but truly knowing your vision is superior, and pretend to take notes. That way, probably, badness lies. Also, if you aren’t getting anything from your group, might be time to find a group that pushes you a bit more, or gets your writing a bit better.

How do you know what to use and what not? Here are some tips that I find work for me.

1. If someone asks a question, and you find you haven’t answered that question somewhere in your text, write that down. If you know you’re going to answer that question, make a note to yourself where in the text that occurs. If you aren’t, think about that later to see if it fits in the story.

2. If someone doesn’t like a character, a character’s actions, or the results from an action, write that down. Is there a point to that? Does changing that take the story in a direction you want?

3. If more than one person expresses a concern about mood or setting, look at that concern carefully. Triangulation is usually helpful.

4. If someone doesn’t get the story you’re trying to tell, listen to their critique and thank them for it. Later, examine the story and see if the story would benefit from their advice or angle. It’s okay if it can’t.

5. Remember, it’s your story. You can reject advice. It’s your story. But always be polite at the critique. Reject in private.

6. Think about minor character’s motivations when people ask about them. If you’re like me, you’ve thought a lot about your mains. People who read your story will often enjoy a minor character more, and they think about and flesh out that character more, so they will often have suggestions for you that are good.

7. Pay attention to comments about words and rhythms. And while we’re at it, did you read your draft out loud?

8. Get organized regarding your revision process. Nebulous can be good for early drafts, but integrating opinion sometimes calls for a system.

Well, time for me to get out of here and practice what I preach. You guys have a great weekend.


Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.