So I finished what I thought was the final revision on my latest WIP (Work In Progress) and submitted the first chapter for a critique. I expected to be making some revisions, which is usual for any critique. But I was not prepared when I was sliced, diced and served up for dinner! Was the story actually that bad? Had I really missed the mark - TOTALLY? I had to step back and take a breath. Breathing is good...one, two, three, okay. Now.
It took me two whole days to be able to touch any of my stories again and the worst part was, I was ready to throw that particular WIP in the round file. I was advised to get a thicker skin. Even with thick skin you can kill an elephant with the right caliber weapon.
Today I have a completely different perspective on the whole situation. I have gleaned what I can from the critique and will go away with a few good gems. I did not throw out the story. It's still in my WIP file waiting for me to revise it yet again. It may not be ready for publication, but I will tackle that story and make it the best I can.
Yes, I am wearing a thicker jacket these days, and I have realized that not everyone has the same taste in literature. Maybe the person critiquing my WIP was having a bad hair day or they didn't like medieval faires. Whatever the reason, there is a lesson to be learned. Even the worst story has some positive atributes to it. The writer who penned it put his passion and soul into it and that passion is in there waiting to be brought out.
During your critiques, if you must tear away at the structure of a story, make sure you leave enough bricks and boards so the entire building doesn't come crashing down. If the story needs a major overhaul, make sure you point out where the parts are that work, so the author has something to work with.
I read some good advice once: always start and end your critique on a positive note. That way, you're giving a good critique and not just being a critic.
Sounds good to me!