Monday, October 26, 2009

the value of a word

Since I began writing seriously ten years ago, there have been a few notable breaks from the writing for me.  Two had to do with pregnancies and childbirth, a third was related to insane stress and unusual living circumstances, and the others were writing related.  Critiques.  I can take a rejection from an editor much easier than I can take a harsh critique.  Twice now, I've received critiques that have sent me running (screaming) from writing.  The critiques were not wrong, I just wasn't ready to understand them and put them to use.  They intimitdated me from my writing, cropping up doubts in my ability, giving power to self-pity.

I have two stories out for critique right now.  One came back with numerous and consisten comments on what worked and what didn't, with comments citing disapointment in the outcome compared to a promise in the beginning, paths in the story that didn't get addressed, some grammar issues.  These were presented in a manner in which I digested them easily.  They were learning-worthy.  I love those kind of crits. 

But my other story received a crit in a very different fashion: the kind that usually sends me running.  With comments such as "poorly written" and "hated it" beginning the crit, it took me two hours of repeated attempts to get past such cold comments to get to the points this critiquer had made.  One some counts, I agree with some of the issues, on others- I don't.  But I fought with it.  Grappled with it.

Unneccessarily, perhaps.  Because in the end, it's feedback and I can do with it what I want.  But that doesn't stop the sting of someone hating what I've created.

I have to remind myself that if I want a career as a writer, there will always be someone who hates what I create.   Many someones. 

This guy gave me feedback that I asked for, and while it isn't in the warm-fuzzy-learning-joy kind of critique, it's still a critique with points I can use to better my story.  To the extent he wants?  Probably not.  It's my story.  I'll pick.  I'll choose.  And I'll learn what I can.

What do YOU do with crits you struggle with, right or wrong?


Maripat said...

Wow...I have to say I have NEVER used the word hate in any critique I've given in over five years of critiquing when describiing a story or character. To me that's a personal statement and not so much a clear understanding of what we should be doing as critters.

I would have to say, maybe I've gotten two critiques that have made me wonder if the person doing the critiquing had a personal issue with me. They were on two different stories. But yeah, I was left speechless.

But then, after a good amount of ice cream, I realized they had some good poins. What it came down to--they didn't like my style of writing and the personality of my characters. For me it came down to do I stay with folks that don't like my style or find a critiquer that I have a better fit with. And NO, I'm not saying you have to find someone who worships you're writing and thinks you're the best thing out there. Everyone has different tastes.

Good luck with the writing!

D.M. Bonanno said...

I agree on the worship issue; It's nice to know what works vs what didn't.

For me, I think the blogging helped. I still haven't responded to this person, and I'm almost ready. Almost.

D.M. Bonanno said...

And I think I came up with a decent response.

"Thanks for the feedback. I thought the "hated" comment was kind of harsh, but the points you make merit some thought."