An Author’s Life: Critiques

If your dream is to be an author, taking critiques like an adult is a skill you must learn. It doesn’t matter if you are sixteen or sixty, hearing your work needs even more work is hard. Sometimes you might work on a beautiful descriptive phrase, but it needs to be cut because it doesn’t add to the work.

You will discover this only by having beta readers, still it is hard to sit through people cutting apart your work.

6.9 dragoncolor

Unrelated dragon image that I did at the drink&draw. Cute isn’t it?

Here are my four guidelines:

1) Be professional.

2) Ask questions, but don’t defend the work.

3) Listen.

4) Don’t take it personally.

In my experience, taking it personally is the one I see the most–especially with new authors.   In fact this last one is so common, I find it hard to give critiques to new writers. If someone has done a few rewrites, I don’t worry about it, but when they are a new writer and trying to get started I don’t want to say anything to discourage them. We are not attacking you. We are actually trying to make the writing better. We took the time to read your work and make comments.

If you only want accolades do not ask a author to beta read.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. I will hold my hands up and say; “yes, i was one of those ‘new’ authors.” It is so hard to take criticism, and when you’ve spent so long (months, years) on something, you just want people to like it. But over the past year, with working with an editor, and trying to just accept it if someone dislikes my work, I’ve finally been able to see an improvement in my reaction.

    But having great writer friends, like yourself, who are there to listen and give advice, makes things a whole lot better.

    Reply

  2. I think getting critiques is just a learned skill like writing is. I fear beginners, because once I was a beginner and I know how I fumed!

    Reply

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