When I Said I Wanted Critique

What I really meant was “love my book with gentle, reverent hands,” and you went full viking on it. Blood and guts everywhere.

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The stages of accepting criticism, as told through gifs.

Manuscript: finished.

Happy dance: awkward and accomplished.

Alcoholic beverage reward: Postponed, because you’re sending your baby out for beta readers to barrage with suggestions and may need the support.

The file has been attached and sent to the sweet people who volunteered their time, gently released with all of your hopes trailing behind.

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While they read-and this takes as long as it takes because they have a life, so hurry up and wait and do it with grace-you go on with your own life but inside you’re thinking . . .

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Then one day, an email. They have read the first half or so and have some thoughts. Time to clench up and open that attachment!

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If you have picked people who critique because they truly want you to become a better writer they generally come at you with the compliment sandwich approach. My beta readers are excellent, caring people who all do this.

And you know what? It still hurts. It burns right through your fragile ego like acid. You had this thin, tender shred of hope that you had somehow entered the alternate reality where a first draft has only minor, easy fixes and you wouldn’t be stomped with all of your mistakes but the comments come streaming in like a waterfall of rocks and . . .

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Then you feel defensive. You’ve read over their comments and let the pain flow through you, the next step is to channel Dame Maggie Smith when she’s told that she hates to be wrong.

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Denial can be satisfying for a little while, but real life is still popping up to poke your comfy bubble of denial. You asked for their help and you got it. The thought that they might be right keeps nudging at you as you take a few days to let it settle

you-might-be-right

It’s time to open that email back up and take another look. You tentatively try some of the fixes, and at first it’s like . . .

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But as you read on and let the advice sink in, it makes more sense every time. This part here drags. And this sentence is confusing like they said. This here is too much telling and can get cut. And it’s making your story better! Wow! Really, they are a font of wisdom. All of it is seen through new eyes.

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Newly hacked apart and shiny your improved manuscript sits there steaming and you want to send your beta readers the edited version in the entirely mistaken belief that a good reward for their hard work would be to make them read the whole thing again. Don’t.

What you really want to do is show them you used their wisdom and a better way to do that is send them a thank-you email with a few sentences about how you used their comments and appreciated them. You can leave out the whole angry-denial spiral part.

Now you have a *finished manuscript and you’re ready to start the whole process over again with another critique reader.

Wait, what?

wait-what

 

credits: 1. giphy.com/gifs/corpse-bride-2kZvtBCru0Sje 2. primogif.com/tag/calcifer 3. goodreads.com/book/show/19397193-down-to-business 4. http://happileeerin.tumblr.com/post/54730523934/                                                                   5. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/57491332717797869/ 6. playbuzz.com/raeregan10/how-well-do-you-know-marina-and-the-diamonds-and-halsey  7. pinterest.com/pin/501729214716420169/  8. tumblr.com/search/david.%20tennant. 9. pinterest.com/pin/482940760020728814/