Today’s guest blogger is Becky Levine, author of The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide: How to Give and Receive Feedback, Self-Edit, and Make Revisions, a new, comprehensive book about the critiquing experience published by Writer’s Digest Books. Becky’s with us today to tell us more about surviving critique — because, yeah, who hasn’t experienced–and wish they knew how better to handle–caustic critique? And how many of us have “handled it” by not saying anything at all? Here’s another alternative. Plus, comment on this post for a chance to win either an actual or virtual (PDF) copy of Becky’s book!
Becky, we’re thrilled to have you with us. Take it away!
How to Survive a Critique…and More: Let’s Talk Troubleshooting
In my book, The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide, I’ve got a chapter about troubleshooting. It’s toward the end of the book, after chapters on getting started and staying organized and learning some tools and tricks about critiquing. It’s at the end, because—yes, even after you’re an experienced critiquer, even after you’ve participated in a group for a few years, you can still run across problems. Groups are made of people, and people interact—not always as smoothly as we’d like.
The important thing is, I think, to catch these problems before they become, well…big problems. Most of us are nice people; as writers, we struggle enough having to make bad things happen to our characters. We don’t like to complain, we don’t really want to nag, and we are not at all happy with serious confrontations. But if you don’t talk about something, guess what? It’s not going away.
Here are some common situations that can make critique partners uncomfortable, unhappy, and—if not dealt with soon enough—angry: [Read more…]