As writers we rely on the honest opinions of a select few around us. You know them, those patient, loyal souls who listen to our ramblings as the characters and plot emerge out of the unknown onto the page. They love us.
While writing is fun, it also takes us on the road of discovery. Researching a new topic to create a believable context is an exhillerating experience, loosely forming a direction, fleshing out characters and releasing them into the story keeps us sitting behind our computers. Alone.
When the day comes that the word document assumes the form of a manuscript, I am awash with joy and relief. But then I need critique, to improve my writing. Luckily I have a small band of avid readers, teachers and librarians who can help.
With all sincerity I ask, “Please provide me with a critique of this work.”
Then I wait the allotted time, growing a little uneasy. The words. “I just love it don’t carry any weight.” I need to know things I can apply to my efforts, like
- What worked for you?
- What didn’t?
- Is the plot engaging?
- Is the character development solid?
- Did it get you in?
- Did I wrap it up well?
- How can I improve the book?
After talking it through, I leave it overnight, sleeping on it. The inner critic in me tries to take me down. Then the next day I read the critique again focusing on the subtext. The path to reworking the manuscript begins to emerge.
Little pieces of the puzzle begin to connect. Maybe this is possible after all.
Accepting critique in a level and adult manner is often difficult especially when a lot of emotional energy has been invested in the writing. For me writing from a place of passion produces my best, so this is often the case for me.
So be brave, share your writing, listen to what others say and then with a clear and discerning mind choose what to throw away and what to keep. Happy writing.