Friday, March 11, 2011

Handling Criticism Appropriately

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

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


  1. So true (and I love the picture at the top of the post--that's exactly how it feels sometimes!). Once an evaluator said my manuscript was way too wordy. Whhaat? What do you mean wordy? Ouch! But I decided to take a scene and play with it to see if I could trim off words without hurting the scene--and holy cow! The criticism was right on target; I could dump tons of words from that one scene without changing the story at all. Now I'm glad he/she pointed out that problem so I could address it.

  2. Most likely those weaknesses our critiquers point out will be apparent to anyone else reading our story. Even if it's in the sense that somethings just not right. I for one, do not want to go on blissfully thinking that my story is perfect when it's not. But it still sucks to hear sometimes.

  3. RSJ I agree. It stings at first hearing the critique but it is a great opportunity to improve.

  4. As long as a critter isn't just mean, I kind of appreciate their comments (although in a private way is a bit better than a public way).
    Most critiques I've received have been true and have helped me improve.
    Now, if it's just plain mean, you can bet I'll put on a big pouty face.



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