What's The Right Way To Respond To A Critique?

This post, from Lynn Price, originally appeared on the Behler Blog (of Behler Publications) on 11/30/09.

“Thank you.” Nothing more, nothing less.

Are they attacking me personally?

Eh, sometimes. Face it, there are some real wheezbags who, for any number of reasons, enjoy ripping the heart out of writers  – anyone seen Authonomy lately?

Maybe they were dropped on their heads at birth. Who knows? Regardless of their motives, they took the time to read your work. Don’t own those critiques, even when they’re good. It’s one opinion of many. Look beyond the sting or the joy, and see if they may have a valid point. If they do, great. If they don’t, great.

The long and short of crits is that they are designed to point out flaws that the reader felt existed. Remember, our writing doesn’t come directly from the hands of the Great Cosmic Muffin, and we all need to be critiqued and edited.

Am I ready for crits?

My philosophy is that anyone who reads crits and goes into the fetal position and cries while sucking on a pound of chocolate may not be ready to put their work out there. The only time you’re allowed to drink heavily, eat pounds of chocolate, and cry is when you’re writing your book and when you get your edits back from your editor. Everyone else is navel lint and not worth expending such emotion. [Edited to add: Ok, fetal position, drinking, eating chocolate is also allowed with crits PROVIDED you understand you’re being unreasonable] …thanks, Pelo.

I remember one a friend of mine blew his stack over a tepid review from Publishers Weekly. He was ready to contact the reviewer and read him the riot act. I told him that under no circumstances would he do anything of the sort. First off, the reviewer took his time to read the book. Secondly, out of the thousands of books that come into the magazine each week, he chose his book. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

Do they have a point?


Read the rest of the post on the Behler Blog. Lynn Price is the Editorial Director for Behler Publications and the author of The Writer’s Essential Tacklebox.