Thursday, 9 July 2015


Readers are the cat's meow.

They volunteer to look at your mess while it's still a mess and give you the gold nuggets that will turn it into the masterpiece it needs to be in order to release you (however temporarily) from the certainty that you hold only trite hackwork inside you and will forever be damned as a writer and a person.

Some of them are afraid to hurt your feelings.
Oh, gentle souls, your soft-tipped word arrows cannot wound me. I see you as the wooden swords and rubber bullets of the training fields. You are never my enemy, always the drinking buddies I commiserate with after a long day listening to the "Sarge of submission guidelines whose harsh demands frighten us all.

Some of you are afraid to piss me off.
That's SO funny! Unless you tell me that fracking is the only way to go, or that black people are the "real racists" or that women oppress men, you're not going to piss me off (seriously, just leave that stuff alone).

Critiquing a piece of art (writing or visual art) means telling the artist what works and what doesn't. When you submit a draft for review and critique, you benefit FAR, FAR more from people telling you the bad news than any amount of "It was great!" and "I loved it!" because you are given an opportunity to fix problems before your story hits the public, or the publisher if people dare to tell you where they are. You can't fix anything if you don't know it's there (and it's amazing what you don't notice when you review it yourself).

So, bring it on, readers. Tell me why and how and where my story sucks. Tell me now, not after I've sent it off for hopeful publication. Be straightforward and fear no anger or anxiety from me. I will be grateful for every comma correction, every plot-hole assumption, every word-choice debate.

I promise you, I will either accept or ignore your advice without a single bit of animosity. The ONLY thing that will EVER throw me off, will ever worry or upset me, ever cause me to avoid or grumble about you is if you say nothing at all.

No comments:

Post a Comment