Criticism. vampire

Ok, ok, drop the cloak, tuck in your fangs and for pity’s sake, stop hissing.

Yes, criticism is to many writers as holy water or a crucifix is to a vampire. Uncomfortable at a minimum, deadly when taken internally.

But given my experience with the SPs, I have to say…it doesn’t have to be that way.

I have heard a number of writers refer to their work as their baby, and I suppose that’s true, to an extent. Anything you put that much blood, sweat and money into has to be related, right? But really, if your infant needed life saving surgery, wouldn’t you do whatever it took to procure it? Even more to the point, would you fear the surgeon who saved his life? Or thank her?

Like any other skill, writing takes a lot of hard work to perfect. And like any other artist, we are often too close to that work to see the mistakes. Worse yet, your  mind often colludes with your muse so that what your are “reading” is actually far better than what is actually on the page. The result is a false perfection, an illusion that you may not be able to see around.

My advice? Find a literary surgeon (or three) who knows how to use the anesthetic of sensitivity and tact as they wield their Bic scalpel. Let them read your stuff. Better yet, let them evaluate it while you return the favor. What is the worst that could happen?

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2 thoughts on “Critical Conditioning Block

  1. Absolutely true. Try reading it aloud- that usually flags up the duff bits, or stick it in a drawer for a week, and then take it out and read it again.If you give it to a friend and ask them to be completely honest….don’t be angry or upset if they are…

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  2. I’ve tried the “read it aloud” thing and, to my initial surprise, it really works. And you are right about listening objectively too. You have to be able to hear about what is wrong before you can fix it. The ultimate goal is better writing.

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