Feedback...it's a necessary evil.
Recently, I shared my entire manuscript with an agented writer in an attempt to get some good feedback. I asked her not to spare the red ink.
Be brutal, I told her. Be honest, I implored.
And she was...incredibly, refreshingly, wonderfully honest. Halfway through my mss, she sent me an e-mail regarding issues she saw with my scene goals/story goals. The voice, setting and stuff like that are your strong point, she told me, but she explained in excrutiating detail the problems she saw regarding the clarity of my scene/story goals.
The close of her e-mail, "Talk to you soon (I hope)," made me grin, but she told me in a subsequent e-mail that she was generally concerned about my reaction to her honest feedback.
But I asked for honesty. I asked for brutality.
Apparently, some writers don't like honesty.
My question is: What good is it to ask for feedback on a project if we disregard what we're being told? It's quite all right to send out a mss to a crit group and hope for them to come back with feedback like, I love it! Don't change a word! But if it isn't honest, feedback will do no darn good.
I know developing a thick skin to less-than-rave reviews from our crit partners is easier said than done. (I'd rather get them from my crit partners before publication than from the Washington Post afterward.) It's okay to sulk, cry, stomp around, get angry (although it's more productive to take your dog/cat/fish for a walk) to clear the emotions conjured by negative feedback BUT we should be grateful to our crit partners for taking the time to give us feedback.
After all, we asked for it.
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Thanks JC -- you're awesome!