Getting Critiqued

Chapters Edited: 19
Scenes Edited: 60
Words Murdered: 4493 (6.5%)

Cliff Dives: 1
BASE Jumps: 1
Bungee Jumps: 1
Motocross Flips: 0 (gotcha)

Times I've had to delete the words "He took a deep breath" before a character does something scary: 8 (I'm a fan of breathing, apparently)


I've talked before about how poorly I deal with critiques. It's one of the things that keeps me from thinking like a pro.

I'm thinking about this again because serious critique time is coming. When I've finished editing in a few weeks, I'll have to send this out to beta readers and take whatever they dish out.

I got a taste of that the other day at Evil Editor again, where the beginning of Air Pirates went up (along with a humorous continuation in blue text). I don't mind the comments on grammar, on not telling things twice, on the fact that almost everyone took the first sentence literally - those are easy changes. I see those comments and go, "Oh yeah, how'd I miss that?"

It's the big comments that are hard to hear. The ones that suggest the opening is boring, nothing happens. At first it's hard to hear because I never want to hear what's wrong (which is stupid - that's the whole point of being critiqued in the first place). But once I get over that, it's still hard because I have to figure out what to do about it.

Natalie pointed out to me, quite rightly, that these are opinions - not every book has to start fast and furious. There was even one commenter who really liked it. And I like it, sort of, but only a few pages in, when the slow start pays off.

At the same time, if a lot of people have the same opinion, then it's something I need to consider changing. Can I start closer to the action without losing any of the character development? Probably, but I don't know how yet.

I've also joined Critters, an online critique group for SF/F/H, where I hope to find some beta readers (don't worry, I'll post a call for beta readers here too). It's cool because I'll get practice critiquing, which is helpful for so many reasons even though it takes time. But, like all other requests for criticism, it's really, really scary.

Geez. The things I do to satisfy this dream of mine.


Natalie Whipple said...

Oh, know how I feel about them. A necessary torture, really. But it's okay—if I can do it you can.

And I'll be really nice, that is, if you plan on recruiting me. I need to do something to make up the fact that I STILL haven't sent those drawings. I just keep spacing...there's not even a good reason.

Adam Heine said...

I would love to have your input, Natalie. But don't you dare do it because you feel guilty!

I'll do my official recruiting in a couple of weeks, when I'm closer to the end. It'll most likely be open to readers of this blog (though if like 50 people respond (ha!), I may have to say no to some).

Natalie Whipple said...

I'm only feigning guilt so I don't give away how excited I am by unruly air pirates and's not very girly.