Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Writing and criticising the writing of others is a very subjective business. It's also emotional. When someone loves your work it's amazing and convinces you that your brilliant. When someone doesn't, you feel inadequate, hopeless and the temptation is to address every single little one of their critical points. I had the unpleasant experience of someone disliking my work to the point that they gave up reading after three pages. Immediately, I thought I better do all that he says so that he'd actually want to read on.

Such an approach just ain't going to work. Because the nasty red pen of someone else's critique will highlight different things, and if you attempt to address every person's every little criticism then the work simply doesn't become your own.

So when dealing with other's critiques, only make changes if you agree with them. Sleeping on particularly brutal critiques probably helps too. And don't fundamentally alter your work on the basis of one crit. What you need, as someone told me, is to look for consistency across the critiques. Things certainly will resonate if more than one person points out something to you. Only go with what one person says if, in your gut, you know that one person is completely right.

It's always going to be your call at the end of the day. It's every bit as likely that the person critting your work is as wrong as you are: simply because the whole thing is subjective. You ain't going to please everyone!

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