Thursday, January 5, 2012

Reading Critiques

"I think this sentence could be stronger if...."

"Awkward sentence...."

"I don't get what you're saying here...."

This is the look I tend to give the computer as I read critiques

I have a moment when I read what my critique-ers wrote and say, "Psshh, that sentence is fine, you don't know what you're talking about." I will actually start talking to my screen sometimes (which I did in front of a friend the other day, oops!) and say why what I wrote is fine, and why what my beta reader is saying is crap. And it's for this reason, and this reason alone, that when I get my edits back from people I read through them...don't make any changes, make the face you see above, and close the browser.

Honestly, I think we're all entitled to this. I think it's okay to defend your work, your writing, and get mad at the edits people give you. But give it time, go back to it.

For me, it's usually two days later. I re-read what I've written, and then with a face more like this:

A little more submissive...

I open the edits, and with a little less confidence and a little more openness, I read what they wrote, and find that 8 times out of 10....they're right. That sentence DOESN'T make sense. I DID use Barley instead of Barely. Oh...and I did forget that I mislabeled a chapter/changed a character name except in that one spot...etc. Once I start opening to that, I open myself to scenes I should have added in, things that I can clarify. This is why we need people to read our work, and why we need to be willing to change things.

As writers, we're protective of our work, and we should be. We've put in a lot of time and effort for those sentences. But, at the same time, step outside of yourself; sometimes outsiders (especially when they're readers) are able to see things that you can't because you're too involved. I know I'm guilty of this. Are you, too?


  1. What a great idea! I have been chanting in my head 'open mind open mind open mind' and rereading the comment and sentence.

    But I like your method better because it gives you time to process what your readers are saying.

    Thanks for the great advice!

  2. I am exactly the same way! I like to read my cp's comments through (without really looking at my writing) just to see what kind of changes I'll be making, close it, and come back to it later. I think I change probably 95% of what my cps say. I don't know why I have to digest it this way, just works for me, glad to know I'm not the only one :)

  3. I love reading critiques. I actually end up laughing when I see 'I don't get this' because then I read the sentence and I'm like, 'I kinda don't get it either'. Lol. Cps are great like that. :)

  4. I totally do this too! It's hard, but it's worth it!

    (just a note: I deleted my blog so don't worry about visiting back)

  5. @Krista, it's taken me a long time to do this. I used to flat out not listen to what people were saying because 'I knew better'...But yes, open mind, open mind, open mind :)

    @Hope, Yea, I really like to read what people say first. I do (honestly *shifty eyes*) get a bit defensive at first, but I like knowing right away what I'm willing to change/what I'm not.

    @Cassie, Same here. One of my beta readers has finally gotten to the point she'll tear me apart as she reads and at the bottom be like "Sorry if that was mean!" but it makes me laugh, because it's exactly what I need :)

    @J.A., I'm saddened by the loss of your blog. (For reals!) But I'm happy you'll have more time with the family :)

  6. I think there is a responsibility though when giving vague comments like - awkward phrasing. Help the writer out, to them it's not awkward. Does it have to do with the cadence (as in when you say it out loud), word choice, action changing too fast.

    Awkward with no follow up information is a lazy cop out beta reader comment I detest.

  7. @Steph, usually when someone writes "Awkward" or "Rephrase" I'll read it, re-read it, and judge for myself whether or not I want to keep it/edit it. Sometimes it is really awkward.

    If I have too many doubts, I'll call someone and read it out loud to them to get another view point, too :)


Please know that if you comment and I don't respond, it's not because I don't love you. It's because I don't have wifi, but I do have a bad memory.

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