My latest WIP is a novel with the working title “Of Gods and Men”. I am a member of an on-line writers’ critique group, have been a member off and on for a number of years and I like the site.
So, I submitted the first chapter of my new novel for critique and have, so far, received one.
New novels are a bit like your baby. You think they are the most beautiful, perfect little being in the entire universe. So, how to react when someone disagrees with you?
This is what I do:
First of all, I check the site about twenty times a day waiting for the first review.
I read the first review and my heart sinks. They don’t like my baby as much as I do. It’s sort of like someone saying, “Oh, sort of cute baby, I can see some potential, but you know the clothes it’s wearing don’t work for me. It’s personality seems a bit over-the top, I’m not sure if I actually like it. Still needs a lot of work to become the type of baby I’d love to have.” Then they nit-pick a bit, which is actually usually fine. I don’t mind the nit-picking.
I take it all on the chin, respond with a positive answer back, gushing, “Oh thank you for that, it’s really helpful.” Then I look at my baby and think, why don’t they see you the same way I do.
This is when the bad stuff happens. I decide that maybe my baby is just not worth working on at all, so I don’t write any more. I check back, often, to see if anyone else has had a chance to comment on my baby. They haven’t. Maybe, I think, because they agree that my baby is worthless. Maybe they can’t be bothered. Maybe my baby/story is just too much for them to even consider commenting on… And it goes on.
So, I decide, “well, I’ll just show you some of my other babies…” and I publish something else for critique. That ends up being a bit of a vicious cycle actually.
Finally — and this is the good part — I decide, “I actually like my baby. You had some valid points about it’s clothing and maybe it’s personality, but hey, it’s still a baby. Then I get back to writing.
Happens every time. It’s a process. You’d think I’d be used to it by now, but I’m not. Unlike some of the characters I write about, I am still human.
I’m off to write more now that the sulking phase is over…
It is a good site. Constructive criticism is always good, even when hard to take at first. And, I need to wait for a few more people to weigh in before I worry too much about what people think. It’s always hard though. Stages I go through.