We all have to learn to take criticism. I’m a Virgo which means I take it quite badly. However, in the writing game you have to learn to take your knocks – and your rejections – and pick yourself up again. We all know the story of JK Rowling and how many publishers are now kicking themselves because they turned down her first story about Harry Potter…
So, when my tutor gives me advice, I generally take it. We are constantly told to ‘show’ not tell, leave the reader guessing, allow them to use their imagination to fill in the gaps. This directly contravenes with ‘too many questions unanswered’ – another one of my tutor's favourites, presumably when I have taken the first piece of advice too far.
People think writing is easy, and it isn’t. It’s a skill, it’s a craft. You have to hook your reader, keep them guessing, then give them a satisfactory finish. Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl was (apparently) the book of last summer. It’s not an easy read, but I persevered only to be rewarded with the crappiest ending ever. Having stuck with the two obnoxious antagonists over many chapters I felt I deserved something better - one of them at least should have got their come-uppance (and it's not very often I'm on the side of an adulterous husband....). I felt the author had copped out and I felt cheated.
Last term my tutor told me I’d ‘cheated’ the reader out of a proper ending on a 900 word short story because it didn’t have a definite ‘conclusion’, I re-wrote it. I understand that Gillian Flynn has now done the same for the film version of her book. Shame no-one suggested it earlier. I'm usually the first one up in arms when a story is changed beyond recognition to satisfy Hollywood. As far as I can see in Gone Girl's case it can only be a good thing!