Writing Well Series Pt. 4 When You’re Facing Critique
Has this ever happened to you, you just finished your first draft, and your excitement is through the roof?
You can’t wait to show your family and friends. You know they are going to be impressed by your writing. You send printed copies or send google doc copies off to siblings, parents, and friends.
You wait excitedly for their thoughts on your manuscript…
Critiques! Someone left handwritten or highlighted comments on your work! So many opinions, so many ideas. One person says the main character is too weak, and another says the climax needs work.
Your masterpiece looks tarnished with the red-pen markings or yellow highlights. You want to put your head down on your computer keys and groan.
How are you supposed to handle this? You can’t very well send off fiery emails to everyone and tell them you’re upset…What if what they say is true? How can you decipher each critique and find the truth in it?
- Carefully read through the critiques.
- Stay calm and remove yourself from the work for just a bit. Go work on another hobby you enjoy, watch a movie with your family…just do something besides look at your writing…(Ahem, of course, this does not apply if you have just a few days to finish your edits and turn your book in to be turned into Kindle format for publish.) Even if that’s the case, still try to take a small break…Maybe get some hot coffee with cream and read a book!
- Don’t get angry. You most likely sent your story off to people who like you. They are trying to be helpful.
- Think about the people who read your book. How many of them have literary training or authority on the subject? (THIS does not mean you should ignore the people who may not have much experience in the field but want to give their advice.) They are well-meaning.
- First, consider the advice of the more small critiques. (I haven’t had a ton of experience with this yet but I know I will especially with my upcoming novel 😉
- Look for comments on characters, and character descriptions as well as comments on the plot. Your characters are the life-blood of your story, and the plot is the veins that the life-blood flows through.
- Look at it from different angles. Try to picture the different elements others recommend in your mind…Maybe even write a scene or two with the revised ideas…(Of course, don’t go overboard!)
- Always be courteous but don’t let others tramp all over you. If there’s one particular person that keeps hurtfully and wrongly picking at your work, you may want to carefully put their advice aside. Although, sometimes the ones that are the hardest on you want to push you to achieve all that you can!
- Don’t let other people opinions make you upset or angry. ALWAYS STAY CALM! If you start getting worked up, try stepping away from the project.
While there is a lot more that I could say, those are the basic ideas that I’ve formed. The biggest is STAYING CALM!
A lot can happen when you get angry at people. Take advice from this Biblical Proverb. “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.”
Have self-control. When it comes down to it, this post is about taking critique gracefull, but it’s also about self-control.
I must confess that I take Critique very hard. I don’t like people messing with my characters or plot…It makes me feel like I’m an imperfect writer …Newsflash! I am! I’ll never write a story that has perfectly formed characters or plot…There will always be an imperfection someplace. Like the his his in a sentence of my published “Even in the Grey” novella! The only typo I was informed of!… Augh…!
When receiving Critique remember to stay calm and have self-control over your words and thoughts. Remember others are trying to be helpful and…they actually might be speaking the truth!
Always have someone check over your work!… Ehem, somehow we missed the his his. Critiquers can help you train your self-control mechanism and help you turn your story into a masterpiece worth sharing with others!