Conflicting advice is the very devil, especially if it’s given by different well-respected and hugely experienced writers. Especially when you’ve paid for it from a well-researched and carefully selected specialist or it comes via a highly professional writing organisation.
Like most newbie writers, I am passionate, energetic and in love with my story and characters. This is pretty normal. But also like most newbies, I have my doubts. So I sought advice from Those Who Know. And I am overwhelmingly grateful for their advice. My original grammatically correct but floppy prose is tighter, sharper. I now have the ‘Less Is More’ chip implanted in my brain along with ‘The Reader WILL Get It’ one. Adjectives and adverbs have to pass through the Star Chamber before being grudgingly(!) allowed a place in the text. And those darling, self-indulgent scenes I loved from birth are mostly consigned to the bin (gulp).
My advisors/expert lecturers/mentors are polarised on the proportion of dialogue to narrative, level of local colour, timing and amount of world-building and whether they find my characters sympathetic. And these were the things they mentioned.
Each advisor has been enormously helpful and made good points that I have adopted or will adopt. And more than that they have acted a springboard for other ideas. I know I could not have reached the point where I am without their support. No argument.
Now it’s my turn. I have to make the decisions. I am the one who thought of the story and the characters. Like them, I have to live by the sword and die by it (Apologies for the cliché but I am writing about descendants of the Romans).