Recently I had a story critiqued.  It was a short story that I am keen to get into a publication, and a friend and I are working on our stories so we can submit together.

This story is one that I wrote last year, just as a way to get into short stories, basically a retelling of a fairy tale.  I struggled with it at the time, and a friend who is a prolific short story writer critiqued it for me the first time around.

I just seem to have this mental block when it comes to critiquing.  When I read it, instead of seeing positive changes that could be made, I read it as someone trying to point out my faults. 

It has taken me a while, but I now understand where that is coming from.  When I was younger, if I got good marks in an assignment or exam, my father, instead of saying “Well done!” would say – so why didn’t you get full marks. (I did on an assignment once, and to this day he has never said good work!).

I know that my fellow writers aren’t my father, and they aren’t deliberately trying to bait me in any way, but it still stings that I just can’t seem to pull it off on the first go.

I have since had the story critiqued again, and while there were some positive changes, there were still points that needed working.  And now, when I look at critiques, I try to focus on the parts where comments haven’t been made, because obviously those parts are alright!

On Friday, I posted up In the Clouds, my Friday Fiction and Cloud writing challenge.  Check it out here.

Critiquing – a Writers curse?
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5 thoughts on “Critiquing – a Writers curse?

  • March 29, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Critique is a writers blessing, but I think it can take awhile to learn to think of it like that. Sometimes it can be hard reading where your flaws are, but it’s a hugely important part of the learning process.

    Besides, not many people get it perfect the first time around – and 90% of those who think they do are delusional 😉

  • March 29, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    No, I agree that nobody is perfect, and I do get a lot from them, once I get over that initial “argh!” feeling.

    It is just something I spent a bit of time over the weekend thinking about and I now realise where it is coming from, so hopefully i can look at critiques as being helpful from now on and not personal attacks against me!

    Weird how the mind twists things around – and people think I am mad?!

  • March 30, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Oh I’m with you on the whole “parental lack of support” thing. Damn parents.

    • March 30, 2010 at 1:24 pm

      Fortunately Dad relates to be better as an adult than as a younger person – still struggles with the support bit, but my stepmum is pretty good at kicking him in the arse to remind him!

      Mum has always been my staunchest supporter – where would I be without my Mum!

      I have worked out, as I got older, that the only support worth worrying about is my own, and having confidence in my own abilities. Here’s to be a strong independent slightly off balanced woman! 😉


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