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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Take Your Story's Critique Personally

I remember years ago when I started writing fiction. I used to take writing classes as frequently as I could. Even though I was a novice writer, I was not naive. I knew the importance of getting my stories critiqued.

Ah, memories!

I recall in one of my writing classes, the instructor told us to not take critiques of our stories personally, which is the first thing everyone does when they get a negative critique. It always makes me smile when remembering all the red faces and frowns I saw during my critique sessions. 

I know why the instructor gave us his advice on how to handle a critique. He wanted us to understand that no matter how negative the critique was that it was essential for us to be able to focus on what the critique was saying about the story. He felt that the only way for us to do this was to not take our critiques personally. 

Now that I am a published author, meaning that I have been critiqued over and over again, I find that I create my best manuscripts when I take my critiques to heart. You see writing comes from the heart, it is a piece of you. For goodness sake, you are literally putting your dreams, or nightmares, on paper for others to read. 

When someone critiques your story and finds negative points that should be reviewed and you don't take the negative comments personally; you may not realize that the errors were not a one time thing. You may assume that the mistakes made are just related to the story being critiqued and has nothing to do with you as a writer.

I feel that my critiques are not just about the story, but also about me as a story teller. If one of my critiques finds slow pacing in the plot, I take it to heart so that I can not only correct the story, but myself as well. 

If you want your story critiqued, edited and proofread, please click on the link:  The 2nd Pen


  1. Agreed 100%! Writing's like any other skill in that we must learn from others, and those negative critiques can always be turned into positive improvements in our writing.
    Well said, Mr. Cruz!

  2. Have you ever visited Zoetrope? I think you might love the interaction there!

  3. Andre, you are on target, but you use two words interchangably. Taking a critique personally and taking it to heart are, at least for me, two different concepts. I realize, and was lucky enough to enter a critique group that took the time to explain, that proper critiques are directed at my writing and not me personally. They are the way for me as a writer to get the reader's perspective, which is critical to success in publishing. I take critiques to heart by trying to be emotionally neutral about them. Yes, there is often the teeth-clenched growl and even the occasional 'they don't understand what I'm saying' when I'm going back through the remarks to address revisions, but that usually alerts me to the need to re-write a passage so that my reader CAN understand what I'm saying. I take constructive critiques to heart, but I don't take them personally and think I should give up writing. Writing is an evolving art where good writers continue to grow through change.

  4. Reading this is so funny because it makes me realize how much we are a like in many ways. This is the same in writing music. It is stories, dreams and hard work. When I get a critique, I take it personally too. I was told to stop taking it to heart and don't fall in love with my "@#$%". I tried but never could get this concept. I love my creations because as you said they are a part of us. I take my critiques very personally and learn from them. In fact I tend to make the person who has given the critique a target to impress or satisfy somewhere in my creations. That is of course if they are giving me something I can use, and not just hatin'. Great post.