I wanted to hold off on this post until I’d read Jessica’s critiques on my first chapter for Resisting Wonderland, and it completely changed what I was going to write about. So sorry if this is a little underprepared.
I’m facing a dilemma in that two of my critters had completely alternate reactions to my first chapter. I’m incredibly grateful that both took the time to pour over my MS and give me feedback on what I needed to do. So again, Jessica, many thanks for the time you’ve put into writing your critiques.
My writing partner loved it. She loved the imagery, related to Alice’s character, and felt completely immersed in the world I was beginning to create. There were quite a few things she pointed out and advised for me to alter or change, but other than this, her reaction to it was positive.
Then I read Jessica’s critiques. She tore it completely apart. I’m thankful she did, as she made me question a lot about the structure of the first chapter. It has to be effective and strong, but at the moment, it isn’t. In my first draft, the beginning was something else entirely. Slowly, it’s coming around to something I want it to be. But as Jessica pointed out, there’s still an incredible amount of work to be done.
The dilemma I’m facing is how to incorporate both critters' advice while still trying to achieve what I myself want from the chapter. At this stage, it’s looking like a complete rewrite. I’m not tackling that just yet. Two other people have my MS, and I’m pending their feedback. I would love to hear alternate opinions before I do any more extensive work so I can take everything into account.
My experience with the contrasting critiques has taught me a few things. For one, it’s made me amazingly grateful that there is a multitude of people who are willing to help out with feedback and critique. One person is never enough and individual opinions can differ.
Another thing the experience has taught me is I handle criticism surprisingly well. A few years ago, I would have been horrified at my work being torn to pieces. Now I’m just glad there is somebody who cares about my work enough to tear it to pieces, and help me achieve what they already know I can. Critter faith is an invaluable thing, even if my current MS isn't in a fantastic state.
In the last few years, I’ve always told myself to take criticism as a compliment. Somebody cares enough to pay attention to what I’m doing wrong. Even if it is hard for you to deal with criticism, try to look at it in a positive light. An experience means nothing if you don’t take something from it.
Have you ever had to tackle criticism in writing, and if you have, how did you deal with it?