I finished a critique for someone in my writing group tonight. It was hard because I know how damaging some small piece of criticism can go a long way if applied just right.
While I was struggling to find the words, my husband was reading manuscript. Normally, he’s my cheerleader. He sticks up for my lame sauce characters when I want to murder them, he assures me that my plot holes are not unfixable, and when it’s really bad he knows to take my cup of tea away first so I don’t throw it in his face in a author rage.
Tonight he pointed out a very minor point saying it just wasn’t believable. Unfortunately in a book about level headed teenagers and cults, believability was something that I had going for me, at least in this particular scene. I got defensive because I know my novel and he got that scene wrong. That there was a clarifying sentence which makes it all fine.
I was mistaken and he pointed it out to me. Regardless, I told him he was wrong with the candour of a republican during a climate change debate. It was mostly playful but I was still hurt a little. I’m not sure why, it really is such a small moment. Perhaps I was worried that it was only one of many mistakes that I had made in my writing. Perhaps my inability to notice the fundamental issues means that I should just give up. Perhaps I’m running a sleep-deficit that would make most college students tell me to, “maybe, take some time for yourself.”
I’m pretty sure it’s the last one, and the herbal tea that I had tonight was a much better decision than the jet-black bergamot bombs I would normally imbibe before bed. Regardless, we all suck a little sometimes.
The point of all this is, critiques are hard but that they are an integral part of a writers journey to not suck. Oh and in case he’s reading this, I didn’t think what you wrote sucked it was really good and that was entirely directed at myself because I am vain like that.