Learning to Detach Yourself when Receiving Critiques

April Hamilton wrote a very interesting post called When Editing & Critiquing, Check Your Personal Opinions At The Door. This reminder comes at a great time because yesterday I sent one of my older short stories to a critique group for the once over.

Luckily for me, I’m not new to the game of critiquing and I’m not in the habit of flaring up when someone tells me something I don’t want to hear. In fact, if I receive a “that’s good” I feel cheated because I want to know what’s wrong and “good” isn’t the same as “great” which isn’t the same as “excellent”, so I’m wondering what needs to be done to make the story better. I want to hear the details, I encourage the reader to tell me whatever they are thinking. And just as the critiquer should view someone else’s message without trying to inflict their own opinion on them, the person on the receiving end must learn how to decipher other people’s suggestions. Because not all suggestions should be taken to heart or implemented.

Journey to Freedom is the title of the short story I have concerns with. It was originally written for a project that involved several writers, so it has had the benefit of other eyes apart from my own, but I’m still not 100% happy with it. For starters, it’s long for a short story. It comes in at almost 6,800 words and I’d like to cut it back to around 5,000 words. I’m hoping the critiques will help me work out where I’ve rambled on a bit much. I think the pace is OK, but I’m uncertain if readers will get the message behind the story, so I’m interested to see what comments are made (if any) about the theme/premise. And, of course, I want to be certain there’s no plot holes. To me, the story makes perfect sense, but what will other readers/writers think, see, not see? I eagerly await their responses.

2 thoughts on “Learning to Detach Yourself when Receiving Critiques”

  1. I read that piece and found it pretty interesting.

    I know what you’re saying with messages. Often it’s not the message that’s the problem, it’s more whether your story accurately portrays the message and not just how you assume it will appear.

    Hope the crits help but if not, would be happy to look it over.
    .-= Benjamin Solah´s last blog ..Greece in Revolt =-.

  2. Thanks for the offer, Benjamin. I’ll let you know if I need any more help after the critique period is over.

    I believe the message should be subliminal. It has more punch when the reader knows what’s being said without the author actually saying it. Anyway, that’s what I’m trying for when I write. I don’t know how successful I am though.

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