Friday, March 5, 2010

Who cares what you say?

Bethany at Shooting Stars got me thinking about criticism.  

My first response to criticism is defensiveness.  I pout, I kick, I scream. 

"Who cares what that person thinks?" 
"What do they know?"  

I realize that I can be a bit of 3 year old sometimes.  However, I am not ignorant enough to allow my inner 3 year old to get the best of me.  I've learned that when it comes to writing critiques, the critter is never wrong.  They are telling you what and how they felt about your work.  If you are wise you will take this response, good or bad, and learn how to make your work better-- the best.

The first time I put my work out there for the world to read and comment. I had many cheerleaders, praising my story and the emotions that I touched on.  I was floating on cloud 9.   There may have been some crazy victory dancing, or not.  Then someone reminded me about gravity.  

The critter didn't even put his/her name on the comment.  This horrible person had the nerve to say that:
1. I was telling, not showing.
2. I could develop my charaacter more thoroughly.  
3. I had to readdress my POV discrepancies. 

I sulked, I pouted, I complained.   I was a royal pill.  Then, I was thankful.  Why hadn't I noticed these faults?  I was so stuck in my own story that I didn't see its weaknesses.  We should be grateful for those people who are willing to lay it out there for us. 

I am not saying that we should weight every critique equally, because ultimately it is our story to tell in the manner that we feel is appropriate.  However, approach a critique with gratitude-- even if it takes some kicking and screaming to get to the thank you.  

Amber Lynae

I also wanted to thank you all for your warm welcome last week.  I look forward to getting to know all the readers and contributors. 

If you want to learn more about me or hear more of my crazy ramblings,  hope on over to Seriously Amber Lynae.


  1. Great thoughts, Amber. I still get sulky about critiques too, we all do, but the readers I'm most grateful to are the ones that pointed out those painful flaws. They're the ones I go back to again and again when I've got a new story to test out. They're the ones whose praise means the most, because I know when they say I've got it right, they really mean it.

  2. I enjoyed Bethany's post too, and yours. It's so true. As an editor of a magazine, I get to dish out a lot of this criticism, thankfully anonymously. I never want to hurt a writer's feelings, I want to help them get better at what they so clearly love.

  3. I graduated with my BA in Creative Writing. Since then my child (now eighteen months) has taken over every aspect of our life it seems. Where I went to school my writing classes were ALL workshops. I LOVED it now I long for a critique. I try to get my husband to critique but I think he's afraid of hurting my feelings. Sometimes he says, "It doesn't make sense." Then I ask what doesn't make sense and it goes no where with a response of, "I don't know." I too used to get upset at the critiques every once in awhile but now I LONG for them and miss them dearly. By the way I'm new at reading this blog site, but you are now on my reading list for the day. I can't wait to steal some time away from the little man and read your individual blogs. :)

  4. Rebecca - You are very right. When we win over the our worst critique it is a joy indeed.

    Angie - I didn't know you were the editor of a magazine. I guess I should be a better reader of your blog. I subscribe and read but the thought must have escaped me. I hope that those who receive your advice are wise enough to follow it.

    Jen- It is nice to have you here reading. I know it can be hard to not get the feed back you are longing for. Let us know if we can help. Enjoy your little man and your reading.

  5. What a lovely post. So many people have read my MS draft only to say they liked it - which was a nice confidence boost, but I'm looking for some direction/improvement and can hardly wait to meet with a writing group. How right you are about the help good criticizm can provide! :)
    Michelle Teacress

  6. I totally and completely agree. If it weren't for my awesome crit buddies, how could I ever learn and grow as a writer? If they don't have the courage to tell me to my face what sucks about my work, I'll never get published and I'll be forever wondering why.

    Great post Amber Lynae!

  7. One of the worst critiques I've ever recieved ended up being one of the very best I've ever had. It hurt--a lot--to hear what sucked about my book but in the end, this person was right. Great post, Amber!

  8. Great post, Amber. Criticism is always hard to hear, even when said with love, but it is necessary for growth.



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