Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Thoughts on Creative Compromise & Giveaway signed copy MIDDLE SCHOOL, THE WORST YEARS OF MY LIFE by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts

Last weekend, I went to a League of Vermont Writers meeting. One of the speakers was Chris Tebbetts.  He talked about his experiences with co-authoring, ghost writing, and writing alone.  The whole talk was interesting, but one particular phrase stuck in my mind: creative compromise.

It struck me how vitally important creative compromise is to any writer who strives to not just write for their own pleasure or the enjoyment of a small circle of friends and family, but rather to be published on a larger scale. At the highest levels, creative compromise is essential when working with editors and marketing. Before that, it’s indispensible when brainstorming future projects and revising with an agent. For that matter, what value is there in searching out and sharing with critique partners or mentors if you aren’t open to creative compromise?  

To me, being open to creative compromise is freeing. Its roots are in my desire to brainstorm ways to change or develop a project, or to simply figure out how to widen a story’s scope so it will be enjoyed by a larger audience, or to make a story clearer and stronger. Creative compromise is a wonderful thing.  It’s like having a million extra brain cells or as many eyes as a spider. Sure it’s important to not let the original idea morph into something which I’m unhappy or embarrassed to be connected to. Create compromise is about agreeing and disagreeing. But I think it’s equally important not to let stubbornness or tunnel vision blind me—or to fear that my ideas will get stolen if I share with others. Of course, being careful who I share with is important. 

Create compromise has helped me push my writing to the next level. How about you? How do you feel about creative compromise? Have you benefitted from it as a writer?

Since I enjoyed listening to Chris Tebbetts this last weekend, I’m giving away a signed copy of MIDDLE SCHOOL, THE WORST YEARS OF MY LIFE which he co-authored with James Patterson.  Check out Chris Tebbetts' website here.

To enter you must follow me here as well as @patesden on Twitter and leave a comment below.  The winner will be drawn on February 5th. For an extra chance to win follow @christebbetts on Twitter.


  1. Nice meeting you Pat! And thanks for the links here.... CT

  2. Really good points on creative compromise--love your image of millions of extra brain cells! How can that not be a win-win? And really, once the work leaves you you're 'compromising' in one respect, anyway, as the work will be received and imagined by the reader in ways you didn't plan or might not have intended.

    I already follow you guys, but you know I'd love to win this, so to make it a little more fair I'll also tweet about the giveaway. :)

    1. You are so right about what happens one a story leaves your hands as well! And thanks for the tweet. You did a better @ job than I did :)

  3. My daughter says 7th grade was the worst year of her life, echoing the feelings of many. Patterson was brave to want to enter the den of horror and remind us all of those unglorious years!

  4. Yeah, middle grade is a world to itself. I actually liked it, except I wasn't wild about how runty all the guys were ;)

  5. Admitting to creative compromise is not so easy, because it pits the artistic community against you. (Sell-out!) Saying you'd never do such a thing pits the marketers against you. (No need to deal with that one!)

    IMO- any published writer has committed "creative compromise." It's called a good relationship with the editor.

  6. And it would be why the acknowledgements in the back of novels often say it takes a community to create a novel :)

  7. You're absolutely right about compromise - in writing and in all things. (I've found woman writers to be more amenable than men at this. lol) Have a great week, Pat! :)

  8. You made me smile. Compromise has gotten easier for me as I've gotten older--or at least I like to think that it has ;)

    I hope you have a great week as well.