I was just over at Natalie Whipple’s blog and she’s doing a Q&A thing. In the comments section, she responds to blog readers’ questions and I found this wonderful, perfect, nailed-it piece of advice:

And when you do get crits, also give yourself time to let them sink in. Going right into edits can be a bad move, because you haven’t quite digested and translated what’s really being said. It’s important to figure out how YOU want to fix the issue. Sometimes crit partners bring up a very valid point, but their solution is off. Don’t let that solution suggestion be the focus—you could inadvertently throw out good advice.”

I have often run into this in critique groups across the board. What seems like conflicting ‘advice’ (“It’s this character’s actions here. Change X and then Y will be fine.” “It’s the response to this motivation here. Change W and then X will work” etc.) is really just one problem in disguise. It’s not about listening to what people prescribe, it’s about listening to what their issue is with the piece–and the two are not the same thing. Somewhere in there, something about scene X isn’t coming across. The solution may actually be in scene B. Like Natalie says, “It’s important to figure out how YOU want to fix the issue.”

Just be aware that picking and choosing what will work is an art in and of itself. Now go read Natalie’s blog: Between Fact and Fiction

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jenny maloney View All →

Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.

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