The two most difficult things writers will ever have to learn when dealing with other people it's A) how to not let those extrovert morons interpret your introversion as being an asshole, and B) learning to resolve disagreements in such a way as you strengthen the relationship and do what's best for a third party.



Not knowing your proper role only works in comedy


The first I can't help you much with other than some general advice: If you date an extrovert demand for every night you go out with them, they spend a night in with you (achieve balance). If you run into someone you barely know and see them, of course you say hi, just pretend you're rushing somewhere. Trust me, for some reason extroverts are actually disappointed when they miss a meaningless opportunity to chit-chat. I have no clue why, but that's the way it is. Dealing with another introvert is simple: get it over and done with so you can get back to important things.

Now when it comes to resolving disagreements with your editors, you have to do what I just did: try to understand the other side. That's pretty damn important in any disagreement, but in editing it is step one. The thing is, human nature says if we disagree on a point, we don't just invalidate the other person's point, we strive to invalidate him/her. "He's wrong because he's a fucking window-licker!" We've all done it. If you ever had a romantic relationship that lasts longer than 2 years you spend half your time doing just that. Well...STOP IT.



IU have no idea how to deal with so-called ambiverts



You have to remember why you picked an editor, or critique reader, or friend to do a critical review, just as you have to remember why you picked someone to be your lover. There was a reason, what was it? Here is why that is important: someone can be the best goddamned copy editor in the world but they suck with content. So if you're disagreeing with them over grammar...they are the expert, not you. Point goes in their favor. If you're disagreeing about content...you win by default unless they can provide some evidence to the contrary.

So the first step is to determine who is the better expert. Try not to just think of a person's qualifications but also try to see it from their point of view. That might settle it right then and there, and for the love of satan, Bill Bixby, or what/whoever you worship, be the better man and admit when someone knows more than you. You never get anywhere in life or in a fight being a damned know-it-all.

If that first step doesn't work, check the validity of the point. Who should ultimately decide it? Is it a small point? You'd be surprised how big an argument that can become. My high school sweetheart and I nearly broke up writing a script for a short film and argued for days over a single camera shot: should the priest be introduced walking into a tent filmed outside, or filmed inside? Seems like a tiny point but I, the writer, wanted it filmed outside to show he was going into a caul (y'know, symbolism) and he, the professional camera guy, wanted it filmed inside for better framing. We were going to college in different states by then and the argument got so bad we both passed on a weekend of sex so he could drive back and we could yell at each other on the phone. We ended up never making the damn film. The point of that story is to show we had two very good reasons for our point of view, but do you know who would have actually decided it? The damn director.



Actually, 95% of all arguments are like this




In your case the final judge is the reader. Never forget the reader. So if it's a question of content, think of what the reader would want. Now determine which of the two arguing parties knows better. Truth is, it's probably not going to be you. Why? You picked critique readers (or you should have) because they are avid readers of your genre, and good editors work in the field and know what sells. 

The only time a content question should be left up to the author is when it affects an arc, however, you should take input and possibly mitigate the instance. For example, one of my critic readers, Rachel, a wonderful friend and fellow bookworm, pointed out it bothered her there were so many mentions of it being 2001 in the first Marly Jackson novel. The reason it was in there was because the entire 7 story arc is an allegory about what's happened to the US after 9/11. She thought it seemed out of place, probably wouldn't allow the book to age as well. We ended up compromising as now there is only 1 instance of date mentioned in it. So I got to keep my allegory that probably no one else will pick up on, and she ended up helping me to annoy my readers much less.

So there's a simple 2 strep process for deciding how to resolve conflict with editors:
1) Who is the expert? - The expert wins (e.g. all grammar/spelling arguments are won by an editor)
2) What is the disagreement over? Whoever knows what the reader would want best wins (e.g. critique partners have an automatic edge)

Remember, being a writer means letting your ego be smashed over and over and over again. You're not going to win most of these arguments, in fact you'll win less than 2% of them. Deal with it. Now we come to the how we do it part.



In a perfect world all arguments could be settled rationally



With critique partners, these will be friends. You want to keep the friendship, but get a better book. The best way to do that is separate the professional and personal as much as possible. That starts with a questionnaire (see the supplementals for 103) that is well thought out. If you want, you can just work with the questionnaire and make all decisions of what gets changed and what doesn't on your own. However, I mentioned in the first paragraphs how the whole not-interacting-with-others is often mistaken, so this isn't the safest route. 

So you have to communicate. Keep all communications professional. As tempting as it is to address someone as Dear Ignorant Asshole, please resist. Remember, do decide who is right before you respond. Don't go overboard with the mea culpa routine, nor do a metaphorical I'm-right-dance. Just plainly ask for more evidence, reasoning, or solicit their response to your suggestion of compromise or countermeasure.



Just imagine having this argument...seems pointless, doesn't it? So tone down the passion and turn up the reason



If that fails and it comes to tense words...this will only happen in the critique reader stage which you're at. When you reach that point, do what smart leaders do and put it to a vote. See how the other critique readers felt. If all want the same change...you should do it. If it's mixed, go with your gut. If no one else mentions it but you're fighting with one critique partner, put it to a vote among the others. Mention no names, keep it professional and simple.

By keeping your ego in check and reasoning through it, you can keep things from blowing up. Listen to the experts, remember why you involved them. Decide things always with the reader in mind. Keep your tone and manner professional. Be willing to make harsh changes or compromise, just never affect the arc of the overall story.

So remember:

Step 1) Use a form to solicit advice from your critique readers (try to have at least 3)

Step 2) Who is the expert in a disagreement? If it's a grammar/spelling error, the editor is (if you don;t have an editor yet, consult your spelling/grammar book). If it's content that doesn't affect an arc, the critique reader is. If it is content that affects an arc it's you AND the critique reader.

Step 3) Keep your communication professional and polite

Step 4) If you have only 1 critique reader with a strong contrasting opinion, put it to a vote

Step 5) Remember, once you publish you'll work with an editor who will go over content and he or she will ALWAYS be right until you're a bestselling author with pull, so don't go to the mat for anything at this stage.




Clinging too much to any concept in this life only makes you creepy as hell



Next time we'll visit how to resist the urge to start content revision until all your critique forms are back. It's harder than it sounds, editing is like heroin to writers, we love it, hate it, and can't resist it. For the moment, check out the supplemental, and good luck. You're about to have your first real taste of total ego shredding. Enjoy it it!