Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thick Skin

Oops! So I'm a day late on the blog chain and the topic is my own question! I asked the group:

Have you developed thick skin as a writer? How do you handle having your work critiqued? Do you love revising? Hate it?

For my latest novel, I've been lucky to receive A LOT of feedback. I received critique from three readers at a revision retreat, my mentor gave me great notes as part of a mentorship program, my critique partner, the amazing Kate, had very helpful comments, and my agent gave me a great editorial letter. Some of these critiques shared common threads, but of course the specific comments varied.

Revision is my favorite part of the process. I love the creative problem solving aspect and I get excited about weaving in new threads to the existing story. I like to think I have a thick skin and am open to critique, but for some reason, I find myself bristling when I first read editorial feedback. Interpretations are wrong and suggestions are impossible on first glance. But by the next day I'm usually agreeing with the critique and revisions are very doable if not exciting.

I know some authors cringe when they're told to delete a scene or change a plot point. That's all part of the fun. It's thrilling to make the puzzle pieces fit together. 

Line edits have much more of a sting. I can get discouraged when it's pointed out that I've described the love interest's warm brown eyes for the 50 millionth time and I use "just" in every sentence and characters ask each other if they're okay on every page. It's easy to get embarrassed and start questioning why I thought I could even write a book in the first place. That's when I look for those happy faces and "Good!"s in the manuscript to keep me going.

It's been great reading about how everyone handles critique. Check out Michelle's and Cole's take. 


  1. critique is not easy, good to read your post

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