Monday, May 11, 2015

Advice For Writer's 36: How To Take Criticism

Today, I thought we'd talk about critique and feedback and the dreadness that is sending your novel out to beta readers and critique partners.
I feel like, for me at least, whenever you send something out you feel and think two things. First, you automatically hope and kind of think that everyone is going to love it and just gush over it. YET, at the same time you feel this sinking sort of dread in your stomach while you just hope that you don't completely suck. So, that's the first part.

In my experience, it ends up somewhere in the middle of those two. Because chances are you don't completely suck yet you aren't completely perfect. So how to take criticism?

Sometimes, someone will tell you something about your novel and you won't agree with them so you do have to follow your gut instincts. However, sometimes they will be brutally honest about something that you just don't want to hear so you can't completely disregard everything someone says.

How to find that sweet spot?

Well, first of all, remember it's best to have more than one beta reader/critique partner and that if two or three of them are pointing out the same thing - let's say you tend to get too wordy in places (this is a real example of mine)- then you should definitely take that into account. However if one person tells you they think one of your side characters is pointless but another tells you that same character is their favorite then you have to simply go with your gut. Don't instinctively believe the second person is right because you feel bad about a whole character being deemed pointless, try to stop and see things from the other person's side then make whatever decision you want.

Take everything with a grain of salt. This is one person's opinion, remember that. Obviously don't write off everything they tell you but don't take it to mean you suck at everything. They're giving you their honest opinion and if their opinion is you suck, then they're just jackasses. Chances are though, they don't think you suck, they're just trying to help you. And that's the main thing to remember and to find; find beta readers who want to help you and remember that's all they're trying to do.

Basically, remember that it won't be as bad as you think. There will be things that need improvement and it will sting your ego just a tad, but all this is doing is making you a better writer and making your story closer to perfect.

Have any advice to add? Tell me down below!


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