Tuesday, June 3, 2014

irreconcilable differences

It's always good to get feedback on the stuff we write. That's what a good critique group is for. It's what we want from our beta readers, agents, and editors because it helps us grow as writers. Most of all, it keeps us humble.

I submitted a piece to a contest recently, and even though I didn't win anything, I learned a lot from the experience. The judges provided in-depth feedback according to a point by point scoring system: hook, scene, character, plot, voice, technique, etc.--5 for excellent, 1 for not so much...

You can imagine my elation when I read through the first critique and received glowing remarks. "Great hook--5." "I was drawn right in--5." "Interesting premise--5." "Love your protagonist--5." "Can't wait to read more."

I could hardly contain my enthusiasm!


Then...I went on to the second critique. "There is no hook here at all--1." "I have no sense of where you are going with this--2." "Your protagonist is unlikeable--1." And on and on it went.

I'm thinking, "Did they read the same piece? There must be some mistake!"

In an instant, I felt like a

Total Failure!!!

How does this happen??

What am I supposed to learn from this? I have decided that:
  1. You can't please everyone.
  2. The so-called "rules" of writing only get you so far.
  3. Just as a writer can have a bad day, so can a reader.
  4. You have to keep sending things out. Somewhere...someday...you'll run into someone who thinks just like you do. Hopefully, it will be a judge or an agent!
Have you ever been confused by a critique? Discouraged by it? How do you reconcile differences in opinion when your work is judged?
"Do the best you can
until you know better.
Then, when you know better,
do better."
~Maya Angelou~


  1. That ladies quotes are popping up everywhere these days.

  2. Ouch! The last contest I entered ( a while ago) I received conflicting critiques similar to yours. Probably why it was the last.