Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dude, Your Baby is UG-LY!

Okay, so no one would ever really say that. Would they?

This post isn’t really about babies. Not the real kind, anyway. In my last post I expressed my love for critiques. But where there is the receiving of critiques, there must also be the giving, right?

Don’t get me wrong. I love giving a critique almost as much as I love getting one. Critiquing the writing of others is awesome for recognizing things you do wrong in your own writing because a lot of us make the same mistakes. It also helps us look at our own work with a more critical eye. BUT… when it comes to hitting the send button on the email, I always think, “Oh no. What if this makes her hate me?” Especially if it’s a particularly thorough critique, where there’s lots of red on the screen. It kind of feels like I’m sending an email, saying:

“Dude, your baby is UG-LY! But here’s how I (self-proclaimed baby beauty expert) think you can make her prettier.”

How do you feel about critiquing the work of others? Do you worry they’ll take offense? Or do you just figure one good shredding deserves another, and they should just suck it up?

6 comments:

  1. I do worry, because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, and being critiqued is bruising enough as it is. I try very hard to be constructive, not destructive. There's no point, in my view, in being mean-spirited. Honesty is necessary, but nasty isn't.

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  2. That's a great analogy! And yes, I get that same feeling just before I send. I haven't actually gone back and changed any comments I've made, but I have that fear of causing irreparable harm to a friendship. So far it hasn't happened--unless there are CPs who secretly have my face on a dartboard.

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  3. I edit people's manuscripts for a living and there are times I still have this problem before sending the manuscript. The key is to place a few things you really did like (and you can't fake this) among all of the things you want them to fix. If they know the good as well as the bad then they know what is working and what isn't. It makes all the difference in the world.

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  4. I participate in a writer's group for the sole purpose of critiquing and being critiqued. But I think of it more as a test on whether or not I am accomplishing what I set out to do in my writing.

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  5. I remember how nervous I was critiquing for the 1st times! Scary stuff! Thankfully it gets (somewhat) easier with time. My crit buddies are awesome and we've learned to trust each other!

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  6. I get the worry a bit, but then I remind myself that if my 'baby' was in desperate needs of some fixing I would want to know the whole, ugly truth. My biggest thing is to a put a reminder in the email that most of the feedback is my opinion and ultimately the writer has to go with their gut. I've had multiple critiques on the same pages and each person comes back with something different.
    Also I have a few faithfuls that can trust me and I trust them, even when the truth may hurt a bit.

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