Why Have Your Work Critiqued?

Are you considering submitting your first 500 words to Indie Book Trailers & More for a critique? Maybe you’re asking why you need a critique. Maybe, you want to know what critique is all about. Below is information that should help you.

A critique may be the hardest part of writing to get used to. Accepting critical assessment must be something you’re prepared for and understand. Let’s begin with explaining the purpose of having your writing critiqued.

Let’s say you write your very first book. You think it’s wonderful. You have read it and re-read it a dozen or more times and you believe it’s finally ready for the world to see. Critiques? “No,” you say. “No one is going to tell me how to write my book!” After all, I am an “Arteest.” (You say this with a French accent and a stomp of your foot!)

Now, maybe you are an intellectual giant. You have a variety of degrees in literature, writing, English, and psychology. You were so much smarter than the rest of your college class, they actually paid you to attend Harvard. Maybe you don’t need critique, after all.

For the rest of us, even the very talented must realize there may be mistakes or holes in our writing, characters, or plot. We should strive to write the best book we can. Mediocrity is everywhere. Rise above it. Go for being the best at what you do.

No, you pledge! “I am a grammar aficionado. I read the Chicago Manual of Style before bed every night! Really! I’m a genius. It’s a curse. My mother says so.”

I’ll wager even if all that is true, there will still be problems in your writing that you’ve missed. It’s easier for other readers to catch problems. Why? Because, we know what we’re writing. In our mind, we’re thinking of the whole character, plot, setting, and scene. Do we convey it, though, in a way our audience will understand? We really can’t know until another person reads it.

Thick Skin

If you’re really ready to publish a book for the entire world to see, you need to have a thick skin. I promise, not every single person in the entire world will love your book, just like not everyone loves peaches, or chocolate. And, some readers seem to read with the sole purpose of looking for mistakes.

Go have a look at any famous author’s Amazon page and check out their reviews.

A Streetcar Named Desire got three 1 star reviews. Here is one: “The most boring story I ever read, The story of a crazy woman his sex maniac sister and the ape of her husband. All is surrounded by the tipical sexim of William’s plays. Don’t waste your money.” (Sic.) This person has an opinion, but may not be who you want to take writing advice from. Reviewers worth taking seriously aren’t just trying to be flippant or mean-spirited. Reviewers you should take seriously are those who put some intelligent thought into their reviews. Criticism has a mean side. Constructive criticism is helpful. Take constructive criticism seriously. Ignore the mean old trolls.

Everyone has an opinion. I promise, it’s far easier to accept some nasty reviewers flipping you the bird on Amazon if you have a little practice with critique beforehand and have truly done as much as you could to make sure your book is well written.

Constructive criticism, no matter how difficult to swallow, often has truth in it. It may take a while before you are ready to accept it, but if someone, or several people point out a flaw in your story, they may be right. If you catch a problem and fix it before you publish, then you’ll be that much further ahead.

All authors believe their work is solid and well written. It’s a myth our own minds create. We have to be humble enough to realize we cannot see our work as clearly as others can. Mistakes do not make you a bad writer. They make you human. And in the end, you are the author. No matter what suggestions anyone gives you, you must be the ultimate say on whether or not you change your manuscript. It’s your baby. Raise it right.