Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wrestling the Critique


Every so often, I like to run my manuscripts by an innocent bystander to see if I can glean any new perspective. Often times, I already know of screaming problems that need to be addressed or issues that I've yet to tackle, but I ask instead for that person to simply point out specific needs, such as not enough detail, too much detail, not enough action, dialogue etc...


So, when I get back my manuscript with some red notes and suggestions, I'm thrilled when I see what I was looking for. Unfortunately sometimes people go above and beyond and do a little extra critique. In the end, I'm glad to hear suggestions, because ultimately, whether I act on them now or later, or even never, it's a fresh pair of eyes and a new perspective.

BUT

Does it bug you when people take it upon themselves to try to be your personal editor and literally shred your work right before your eyes, when all you may have asked for was a perspective of "dialogue smoothness?"

How do you handle critiques?

7 comments:

Bane of Anubis said...

It doesn't bother me b/c I figure I'm soliciting them (the adage 'be careful what you wish for' springs to mind)... but, yeah, if it goes on for awhile and isn't registering, I'll start to zone.

Ann Elle Altman said...

Since joining the site The Next Big Writer, I have learned to take critiques with a grain of salt. No matter what, you will never please everyone. Someone will always having something to change. You listen to some and not others. Being on that site, I've learned to trust my gut on some things.

ann

Taylor Taylor said...

When I first started writing, I asked a friend of mine to look at it and basically tell me if I was wasting my time or not. What she did? Decided to start writing a story herself. That's all fine and good, but then she wanted to turn it into a competition as to who was the better writer. Needless to say, I haven't asked her opinion as of late. She had zero interest in writing (and since has given it up) but because she thought she could do it better than I could, decided to give it a go.

Now, I try to get a wider range of opinions -- that way for all the "I love it! Change nothing" it eventually gets balanced with the "Ugh. You write this crap?"

Congratulations on surviving your wedding! It sounds like it will all be upwards and onwards from here. :-D

DL Hammons said...

I don't get worked up about what anyone does on my manuscript because the bottom-line is I'll use what makes sense and ignore the rest. So knock yourself out!

Donna Hole said...

I like it when people go a little above what I asked for because I don't always know what the issues are. I may think I do, and it turns out a fresh pair of eyes finds something else.

And I don't usually ask for something specific. I want all you have to say. I read it all, and make my own decisions on what to use and what won't work.

.......dhole

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I know what you're talking about! I love a new pair of eyes, and it's hard to go wrong. But I can think of times when I've asked for help w/ plot inconsistencies or whatever, and they give me so much other advice they forget to look at my problem area!

catwoods said...

I honestly love a full on critique. I want it all: plot holes, flat characters, duh moments, typos and grammar no-no's. Of course, I love the editing process, so I could just be weird...