"Do you love every comment your critique partners have made? Do you have to make every change they've suggested?"

Author:
Publish date:
Image placeholder title

Critique groups. Sometimes a source of brilliant feedback, and sometimes, well, a source of literary torture. Once you get your material workshopped and head home, how do you sort through the ink-scrawled suggestions and find some clarity, or at least avoid a brutal internal battle? It’s the latest from Promptly’s Top 20 Tips From WD in 2010 series (the quote-worthy quips that branded themselves in my mind when we were creating these magazines throughout the year). A regular prompt follows.

No. 11: Critique Conundrums
“Do you love every comment your critique partners have made? I doubt it. Do you have to make every change they’ve suggested? You do not. Much of the critique feedback you receive will make you happy. Maybe not at first, but a high percentage will eventually make sense and help you strengthen your story.

"At some point, though, someone is going to make a suggestion you really don’t like. You’ll sit with it for a while, you’ll think about it, and you still won’t like it. It doesn’t fit your vision; it threatens to take the story in a direction that feels wrong; it doesn’t mesh with who you know your hero to be.
Don’t make the change. Let the comment go. This is your book, and you’re in charge. Honest!

"On the other hand … You signed up for this. You’re the one who hunted for this critique group. You’ve asked these people to read your chapters, to think about them and to get back to you. So really, you’d better listen to them.
When it’s your turn to be critiqued, go in with as open a mind as possible. This doesn’t mean you have to sit through the meeting smiling at every word your critique partners speak. But it does mean you pay attention, take notes and wait until you’re out the door before saying any of those swear words out loud.

"It also means that, when you are ready to revise, you take the time to consider each and every comment. Thoroughly. … Listen to your gut, but also listen to your critiquers. The combination of your writing and their responses is the magic of revision."
—Becky Levine, “How to Revise From a Critique,” October 2010 (click here to check the rest of the article out)

(Image: Hiuppo [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons)

* * *

WRITING PROMPT:Midnight Madness
Feel free to take the following prompt home or post a response (500
words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) in the Comments section below.
By posting, you’ll be automatically entered in our occasional
around-the-office swag drawings (next one: next week!). If you’re having trouble with the
captcha code sticking, e-mail your piece and the prompt to me at
writersdigest@fwmedia.com, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and I’ll
make sure it gets up.

At a midnight showing of a movie, something happens that wasn’t part of the script.

Probst_1:20

Making the Switch from Romance to Women’s Fiction

In this article, author Jennifer Probst explains the differences between romance and women's fiction, the importance of both, and how you can make the genre switch.

Wrobel_1:20

Stephanie Wrobel: On Writing an Unusual Hero

Author Stephanie Wrobel explains how she came to write about mental illness and how it affects familial relationships, as well as getting inside the head of an unusual character.

who_are_the_inaugural_poets_for_united_states_presidents_robert_lee_brewer

Who Are the Inaugural Poets for United States Presidents?

Here is a list of the inaugural poets for United States Presidential Inauguration Days from Robert Frost to Amanda Gorman. This post also touches on who an inaugural poet is and which presidents have had them at their inaugurations.

precedent_vs_president_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

Precedent vs. President (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use precedent vs. president with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 554

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a future poem.

new_agent_alert_tasneem_motala_the_rights_factory

New Agent Alert: Tasneem Motala of The Rights Factory

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Tasneem Motala of The Rights Factory) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

Miller_1:19

Timothy Miller: The Alluring Puzzle of Fact and Fiction

Screenwriter and novelist Timothy Miller explains how he came to write historical fiction and how research can help him drive his plot.

Batra&DeCandido_1:18

Dr. Munish Batra and Keith R.A. DeCandido: Entertainment and Outrage

Authors Dr. Munish Batra and Keith R.A. DeCandido explain how they came to co-write their novel and why it's important to them that the readers experience outrage while reading.