Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday's Wonders--Honest Critiques

Monday, I told y'all a little about the critique I just got back. It has opened my eyes to some serious flaws in my writing. Now I know, and, in knowing about them, I can fix them. I have my work cut out for me, but I can do it. *crosses fingers that I really can* It's just going to take time.

I love it when I learn new stuff, and I learned so much with this critique.

An honest critique is a precious gift to those that we read for. Right now I'm critiquing two friends' MSS, and I remind myself often not to pull punches just to be nice. If something strikes me as awkward, I need to tell them so. I can do it in a respectful way, but I still need to do it. Sparing their feelings will not help them at all, and I want to help them make their MSS better. That's the whole point of critiquing. By the same token, when they critique for me, I know they want to help me make mine better.

So, while I'd love to hear that I'm the most brilliant writer they've ever read, I so know, if they say that, they're totally lying. My mother is the only one who can get away with that (and only because she's prejudice).

To all you honest critters out there: KUDOS! You are a wonder. It's not always easy to tell a friend they are doing something wrong.

Disclaimer: This in no way reflects on the 2 books I'm currently reading. I'm thinking about it so much because of the crit I just received. =)

15 comments:

Lady Glamis said...

I've received many honest critiques, and many have made me cry. It's difficult, but once you go through the steps of accepting that honesty and figuring out what to do about it, you can take that next step forward and be on your way to better writing. This writing thing is a never-ending, growing process.

sarahjayne smythe said...

Great post because it's so true. :) Learning to be better is a gift. Good luck.

JDS said...

Back when I was in fiction classes, the critiques were the best part. Nothing is more productive that when you learn what you are doing wrong. I got lucky and the classes I was in all gave honest, respectful critiques, even to those who were truly not good at all. It's hard, but worth it. Good post.

T. Anne said...

I actually read two manuscripts for friends recently. They were both pretty perfect. Honestly I had no real critiques just some minor suggestions. Believe it or not I felt guilty giving them great feedback.

Jessie Oliveros said...

I just got a first-ten pages critique that mentioned big flaws. A very educational (albeit a little stinging) critique. We need to pretty-in-ink blog about this.

Piedmont Writer said...

Whenever I critique anything I always call them suggestions. That way, the writer can take them as they will and hopefully no feelings will be hurt.

Rena said...

It's hard for me to critique other people's writing. Real hard.

beth said...

I *so* appreciate a honest critique. I've "broken up" with a few critiquers, and they were all done because the critiquer was too nice. I would much rather have honesty.

Susan Fields said...

I always try to give an honest opinion. I point out the good stuff, too, but if I'm not going to tell them what's wrong, then what's the point? That's not helping them at all. And I very much appreciate when others give me an honest critique as well, it really is a gift.

Nayuleska said...

Honest critiques lead to good novels. And novellas. And short stories/poems....haikus...

It's essential to be honest. It's nice to get the reassurance that we aren't writing a load of twaddle, but we've got something to work on too.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

I'm so grateful for my critique partner. You're right. It really is a gift.

L.T. Elliot said...

I truly believe that an honest critique is better than gold. They might sting a little but in the end, it's so much better for me. Congratulations!

lotusgirl said...

Thanks, y'all. This just goes to show that we all want honesty whether we like it or not.

Judith Engracia said...

Yea it takes a lot of time to read and formulate an organized reader's report, so I hope they appreciate your critique :) You're a good friend!

Joe Iriarte said...

I agree with your point. I have had the experience, though, of giving someone an honest critique when it turned out that was not what he or she wanted. One time I thought this lady was going to cry. (And I was not harsh; I actually did pull some of my punches, just because I figured there was no point in giving her more than she could work with. I figured I'd concentrate on the main things I saw, and I found things to praise, but she still thought it was excessively harsh.)

To be fair, when I'm on the other end, it takes me a day or so to get over the sting and see the usefulness in the harsh critiques I get. But I act grateful in the meantime because I know that later, when I get over my emotional response, I *will* be grateful.

And because I know the harsh critique gets me closer to my real goal, which isn't having my friends say nice things to me--it's publication.