Dealing With Critiques

— December 19, 2008 (4 comments)
Over at, Kelly McCullough suggested the attitude that "whatever book or story you are revising or getting critiqued at this very moment, is a solid piece of work that can and will be improved if you work at it and learn from comments."

That's the ideal, and I hope to have that attitude one day. Unfortunately, my attitude towards critiques tends to mirror the stages of grief:
  1. Denial: "I don't need anyone's help critiquing my story. Heck, I could probably sell it right now."
  2. Anger: "The story's perfect! They just don't get it!"
  3. Bargaining: "Do I really need to make that fix? Maybe a smaller fix will be good enough."
  4. Depression: "This story's terrible. I'll never get it right. I might as well throw it away and write something else."
  5. Acceptance: "I can do this. I can make it better, I just need to work through the critiques one comment at a time."
Actually, it's a little unnerving how closely this mirrors my actual reactions - like getting critiqued is some kind of life tragedy. That's totally the wrong attitude to have, I know, but I haven't yet had enough practice with it to get better.

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  1. Ha, this made me laugh. It's so true. I made this mistake with a book I wrote in the Fall—totally ignored my reader's suggestions on the end.

    Well, I reread it in November and they were SO right. Must go back and overhaul.

  2. Glad I could help you laugh, Natalie :-)

    Man, when I first started writing back in junior high, there was this one story I wrote that I thought was fantastic until I realized I had just rewritten The Fellowship of the Ring. That realization dropped me into Stage 4 for like four years.

  3. At least you didn't rewrite Sailor Moon! Not that I did or anything...okay, I so did. I think it's natural to mimic when we're young. At least I hope so.

  4. I think it totally is, that's what I learned that got me writing again - that, basically, nothing we create is truly original. It will always be like something else.

    And that's okay, because as we practice more, and mimic more and more varied things, we eventually find our own style that, while it may look original, is mostly just an amalgam of everything we've ever mimicked in our life :-)