Kate Wisel lives in Boston. Her fiction has been published or is forthcoming in The Drum, Mad Hatters' Review, and Compose Journal. Her poems have appeared in The Altar, The American Aesthetic, and Neon magazine. She has attended writing workshops in New Hampshire and Guatemala and was awarded a scholarship to attend the Wesleyan Writers Conference.
Here is what most writers forget. You are the boss of your own story. Not the other writers in your critique group. Not the famous author whose workshop you were lucky enough to get into at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Not even your mother-in-law who comes into your house while you are at work and vacuums the mattresses because somebody has to protect her grandchildren from dust mites. When it comes to applying feedback, you -- and only you -- are the one who gets to determine what stays and what goes in your story. And that is a good thing.
So why do so most writers forget this fact? Why do most of us, when confronted with feedback, automatically relinquish authorial control and start scribbling copious notes all over our manuscripts like some junior intern on Red Bull, determined to meet everyone's demands? "Yes sir, I'll rewrite the whole novel in first person and add more sex scenes, no problem..." "No ma'am, I don't need to kill off the grandfather in the end; I thought he was a nice guy, too..." "Yes sir, I'm sure my memoir would sell better if I was raised in a Chinese orphanage. I'll