It’s difficult to take criticism. Even more so when it’s criticism directed at something you created from nothing. Ideas formed into words that you believe will change the world. You write them, press send, then sit back and wait for the critique to come back without a single mark on the page. You just know that your crit partner will say, “This is the single greatest piece of literature every written, and I am not worthy.”
You see where I said the part about waiting for it to come back uncriticized? There’s the problem. Trust me.
You see, when I first hooked up with a critique group, I was clueless. Clueless. I’d never heard of POV. I had no idea what voice was. And I didn’t know why I wrote the way I did. It just sounded okay to my ear. I was clueless. But the problem was I had two book under contract and they were DUE in three weeks. I thought they were finished. Thought being the operative word.
In this first critique group, one person, Valerie Comer, who later became my crit partner, took a chance on me. She asked me if I was okay with her giving my work a real critique, or if I’d prefer to make nice and be best friends first.
I asked for the critique, and then I prayed for my attitude. It was good I prayed. Honestly, reading that first real critique about blew me over. I had to read it. . .walk away. Read it. . .walk away. A couple of times. Then I saw what I needed to see. I saw that I needed help. It was in that moment of complete acceptance to the process of bettering myself as a writer, that my writing career developed staying power.
Take a look at one of my earliest critiques:
Can you see how it went? I put in something I could visualize in my head–theater-style seating where the seats pop up when you stand up. You know? Well, it didn’t come across on the page. You can see my crit partner’s comment.
Here’s another one:
That’s just to give you an idea of how the flow goes. This being my first critique experience, you can see that I needed a lot of help. lol
Do you think you could submit your work to that kind of fine-toothed comb?
Remember that in order to sculpt a work of art, the artist must nick away at it with a chisel. In order to create a beautiful piece of pottery, it must go through several phases, one of which involves fire. The same is true for your writing.
The level to which you subject your work to refinement is completely related to how great it becomes.
If I were speaking publicly, I’d repeat that for emphasis. As it is, though, I can only rely on italics. Which my critique partner would remove because the writing should stand on its own.
There are ten things you should remember about the “Accepting” part of the critique process.
To read the remainder of the article 10 Steps for Accepting Critique, click here.
Nicole O’Dell is the mother of six–including three-year-old triplets! She’s the host of Choices Radio, which includes two weekly programs, Teen Talk and Parent Talk with special guests and topics of interest to each species. Plus, she’s the author of six Scenarios for Girls books as well as the Diamond Estates series for older teen girls. Nicole loves to speak to teens and parents at conventions and churches. She has several nonfiction books coming out in 2012 attempting to bridge the gap between parents and teens. All that AND she’s one of the authors whose novella will appear in Rainbow’s End anthology along with my story, Topaz Treasure (due out in May 2012 from Barbour Publishing).