When I first started allowing people to read my work I expected words of praise, pats on the back, bottles of champagne popping open because I'd written the next Great American Novel....and for the most part that's what I got....because I'd sent it to people I know--friends, family...people who would tell me what I wanted to hear. Then I found a critique partner, whom I'll call "Andy", who had no qualms about telling me how bad a writer I was. After cleaning up the wounds he gave me, I did more revisions and then sent my book to an editor at Avon....who told me what she really thought. Now, the critque the editor gave my manuscript wasn't in any way mean like "Andy" (unless you consider post-it notes with Yuk and Double Yuk taped to the pages mean)...and she was very helpful. I wasn't where I needed to be with the craft if I wanted to be published. So, being the damned determined kind of person I am, I studied, joined RWA (Romance Writers of America for those who don't know) and found a critique group.
It's been four years since that editor's critique....and the novel has improved drastically...it even garnered me an agent and interest from another editor....but that's another (horrible) story. Anyway....because I've been learning so much over the years---mainly thanks to the wonderful writer friends I've made--I feel confident in passing along my *wisdom* to new writers. So, for the last few months I've been a part of a forum where writers are encouraged to post chapters for feedback. Now, I've made it a point not to read or comment unless specifically asked because most consider my feedback a bit....harsh. Not that I do it that way...it just comes out that way online.
For the most part, I've gotten great thanks from some of the people...but there are still several there who just don't want to hear what they're doing "wrong" and will argue till they're purple that I just didn't get it! Especially since others (their friends) are giving them those pats on the back they so desperately want. How is that helping??
So...why bother giving critiques to writers who only want me to pour some sugar on them? Call me a masochist...haha...no....actually because eventually they're going to see that it isn't just me.
And if these writer's can't take a critique from me, how are they ever going to handle rejection from an agent or editor??
Which reminds me....the Avon editor had asked to see the manuscript again if I cleaned it up...she's not at Avon anymore but with another major house. I wonder if I should consider resending to her??