|You only need the courage to look.|
I've had the privilege of working with an amazingly diverse group of ladies in the critique process of PENDOMUS.
To me, their differing perspectives have been invaluable. They offer insights into my novel that I am either not equipped for seeing or the ones I simply have blinders for. I know what I'm good at and what I'm... well, not.
I have no shame in that.
Writing, to me, is a learning process. If you go in thinking your novel is the best thing EVAAARRR and it's never fallen upon another set of eyes, you are probably delusional. Even JK Rowling has done revisons.
My first experience with having PENDOMUS critiqued (I mean really critiqued) came from my Beta-Reader-Extraordinaire. I'll admit it, when I got her first detailed email about the things that weren't working, it stung a little. (I fancy myself Wonder Woman, remember?)
Then I took a moment... took a step back and you know what? I'll be damned if she wasn't right!
From that moment on, I was able to detach myself from the critique and give in to the critical thinking process that goes along with polishing a novel. Sometimes critiques are spot on. Sometimes they aren't. But I feel that it's our obligation to really consider the feedback of others. Sometimes, our initial reactions are not the most logical ones. You know what I'm saying?
When something isn't working in a novel I'm critiquing, I'm honest. Generally speaking, I don't hold back because I feel it's a waste of my time and theirs if I don't give it my all. I also have the experience behind me with Beta-Reader-Extraordinaire and I know just how important that critical insight can be.
The thing I find fascinating about working with other authors, is the apologetic behavior... I even do it. If the person takes the advice poorly (and I'm not just talking about my group, here), I feel bad. A part of me wants to back peddle.
But is that for the best?
If my honest opinion wasn't what they wanted to hear, does that mean it was wrong? Or does it mean it's another perspective to consider?
Does it mean it's the only right one? Absolutely not.
What about you guys?
When you've had your work critiqued, what kind of feedback do you look for? How do you respond to positive and negative feedback? Can you detach from the critique? Or is it difficult for you?
When you work with others, are you honest? Or do you gloss your opinion over?