I find myself shaking my head sometimes at the way people act when their work is critiqued or reviewed.
Recently I was in attendance at an event where an author spoke. She started by laughing about receiving a harsh review that day. Then she asked the audience if anyone read her book. When one girl raised her hand, the author said (I’m making this up) “Do you think there was too much tomato soup in that pot?” The girl in the audience said: “Well, I do see how someone could think there was too much tomato soup in the pot”.
What went immediately through my mind was that maybe there WAS too much soup in the pot, and the author didn’t realize it.
The funny thing was, the author then started to argue why she didn’t think there was too much soup in the pot.
If two people thought the same thing, the issue is probably there.
As an author, we need to understand that what we type onto the page may not be perceived as we expect from a reader’s point of view. We need to accept this, and move on.
Thankfully, the speaker caught that she was defending herself, laughed, and continued her talk.
This brings me to critiques.
If you cannot handle a critique, what are you going to do when you get out into the “real world” and people slam you on the internet because your main character’s name is Fred and they hate the name Fred? Think about that.
Some people react oddly when they get a critique. For me, personally, If I get a crit that says “Wow, this was wonderful. I really enjoyed it in every way shape and form. You are brilliant!” I’m not really all that happy – Now, if you want to say that in a review, I’d love you for it 🙂
But in a critique?
This is a person who will never crit my stuff again.
Because I am smart enough to know I’m not perfect. Nope. Far from it.
But some people out there want to be coddled. They want their egos stroked. People like this SHOULD NOT be asking for critiques. A critique is not a forum for your self-esteem, although it can be a place where you can BUILD your esteem.
If you are not ready for feedback that you may not like, then you need to find a way to GET READY.
Because learning that the pivotal scene you wrote— the one that makes you cry and changes your life every time you read it… (yeah, you know that scene. Everyone has one)
Anyway… learning that your scene DIDN’T provoke the emotional response you wanted is going to hurt. But what you need to train yourself to do is let that pain sink in for all of five seconds, get over it, and then re-read the comments and look for useful information to better your writing.
Believe me, guys – for those of you who are not published yet – it is FAR BETTER for a critique partner to tell you that something does not work, and give you ideas on how to make it work, then to get slammed in an amazon review later.
So where are you on this? If you have not been critiqued or reviewed, are you preparing yourself, or are you looking for a testimony to your brilliance?
If you’ve been receiving critiques for some time, how do you react when one, two, or three people say something you disagree with?