This was the second panel I did at CONduit. A very important topic for writers. I have been giving and receiving critiques for seventeen years now, so I think I know a little bit about it. For the sake of shorter posts (we all like shorter posts, right?) I am going to divide this topic into two different posts. Today's will focus on receiving critiques.
You need feedback. No matter how long you've been writing. No matter how good you are. You need to be critiqued. It's not always fun, but it is necessary.
Rule #1 when receiving a critique: Don't take it personally. It's not you being critiqued. It's not your story. Your story exists in your head and it is perfect. What is being critiqued are the words you have used to convey your perfect story into the head of the reader. (Remember the "This is my manuscript. This is me." routine? Use it again here.)
Rule #2: Everyone's opinion is valid. If someone is expressing their opinion, it's their opinion. You don't have to agree, but don't argue with it. Make sure you thank those who have taken the time to read and give feedback on your work.
Rule #3: You only have to take the advice you want to take. The story is yours. Listen to all the feedback, comments and suggestions. Let them sit a few days. Then, make the changes that you feel excited to make. If you don't think a suggestion will make your story better, ignore it. This is so important. Get feedback, take suggestions, but never never forget that this is your story and no one else's. You have to stay true to it.
Do you have any advice on receiving critiques? I'd love to hear it.