Saturday, January 7, 2012

Critique or Critic?

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, 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!


  1. Yeah, critiques can be dicey!
    I hope the revisions go well, and you like how it turns out.

  2. That last bit is true - start and end positive. I've been very fortunate that my three critique partners are awesome and know how to critique right without killing me.
    Checked the list - you are all signed up for the IWSG new month. Welcome aboard!

  3. To make yourself feel a bit better Google Search rejections - criticisms - then put JK Rowling, Mark Twain, Stephen King. Reading what others railed against them with will make you feel better.

    Read the masters; see how they achieved the elements that impressed you, then try it in your own way. It is easier to criticize than to create. Keep the faith. You will succeed if you do not quit, Roland

  4. Rettakat:
    Thanks! I'm liking it better each time I take a piece and re-work it! Forward!

    Welcome to my blog! I'm excited about the journey! It can only lead me to better places!

    Glad you could join me! I did a little poking around and found myself in very good company! I wonder what those critics thought when they saw those authors in print and a big success! Karen

  5. Hope you find some good critique partners. My local group is finally really coming together. Last night we laughed up a storm while dishing it to each other. Face-to-face it's so much easier to see how they sincerely want to help.

  6. I'm so glad you have some regular partners to critique with. I'm still looking for the right cp's to hang with. And yes, face-to-face would be ideal.
    Guess I'll just read to the world!