I’ve been happily buried in a revision/rewrite for the past ten days on a WIP I hadn’t picked up for over a year.
I remembered writing the first draft of LAST CHANCE, that’s the working title, in about six weeks. Then over the course of a year I revised it half a dozen times and finally gave it to one person to read. I had two other books I was working on, so when the critique came back I read it and then set it aside. I continued working on the two other books, and wrote a first draft of another book.
When I finally picked up LAST CHANCE, I was a little overwhelmed. I remembered being really excited by the story and then deflated by the critique. The critique did a good job of pointing out LAST CHANCE’s weaknesses which was what I wanted, but it also fired a couple of personal jabs my way which kind of threw me off balance.
Now I’m a guy who taught in a school for behaviorally challenged students for 15 years. I’ve been cussed out, lied to, and threatened too many times to count. I’ve even been punched and kicked a few times, but none of it was personal. By that, I mean those kids were going through tough times and for whatever reasons that’s how their anger, fear and frustration manifested.
My point: when someone is supposed to critique your writing, when that’s the understanding, and they start critiquing you instead, it’s not about you, it’s about them. Don’t take it personally.
Is this hard to remember? Sometimes.
Do the memories of those personal comments still get under my skin? A little.
Am I putting to use some of the comments directed toward the book? Yes.
Will I ever seek out this person for another critique? I haven’t decided.
Have I spoken to this person about where I thought the critique went astray? I haven’t and don’t plan to.
Since I started blogging—the above critique pre-dates my blogging-days—I’ve had the pleasure of trading manuscripts with some really great people who’ve totally focused on the writing.
Have you ever received a critique that crossed the fine line between the writing and the writer? How did you handle it? How would you handle it in the future? If you’ve never experienced this, what do you think is the best way to handle this type of situation? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
(This weekend I was interviewed at Frolicking Through Cyberspace. Here’s the link if your interested: Frolicking Through Cyberspace)