Tip of the Week: Future father-in-laws do not make good party planners.
Now at first glance this does not appear to be a writing tip. I appear to be about to ruminate on the difficulties of letting my future father-in-law plan the rehearsal dinner phase of my wedding. But first glances are decieving.
Just as my future father-in-law does not know enough about my wedding party to make all the ultimate decisions about my rehearsal dinner, your agent or editor or critique buddy ultimately does not know enough about your manuscript to make the final decisions concerning its form. Agents, editors, and critique buddies are there to guide you and to make suggestions. They are there to make your manuscript better than you dreamed possible. But in the end, the manuscript is yours. You are the one who has to decide whether or not to make the changes. I'm not saying to lightly disregard your critiquer's input, especially if it's an editor or agent. We are paid professionals, who contrary to popular belief, know what we are doing. The suggestions made are not for our entertainment or to see how many hoops an author will jump. But if you just do not agree with the direction being offered, you don't have to take it. It's a closely guarded secret, but the truth is, you can say no. You had better follow that no with a nice long explanation of why you feel this way, but you can say no. Your work is yours, and you should never let anyone change that.