Critiques The Rip: Why Criticism Trumps Praise

I recently wrote a guest post on Yawatta Hosby’s blog (what follows is an excerpt). To read the whole thing, I hope you’ll click over to her page!

Quick, what’s the worst thing you can hear during a critique?

“Your dialogue reads like an Xtranormal video on horse tranquilizers.”


“Your plot has more holes than Homer Simpson’s underwear.”

Try again.

“I couldn’t find anything wrong. I liked it.”


Now don’t get me wrong. Hearing that someone else likes your work can be a real ego booster. And at times, we writers need some of the good stuff to keep us going in a rejection-happy industry bent on destroying our optimism. Trouble is, if you keep hearing “I liked it” too often from fellow critiquers, you’re 1) in the wrong group or 2) in the right group, but everyone knows you’ll key their car on the way out if they tank your story. Either way, seek help immediately.

If, however, you ARE hearing things from your early readers, and you’re choosing to ignore them, then do so at your own publishing peril. I’ve been in many, many different critique groups over the years, both through SCBWI and through online classes, and those resistant to criticism are usually one of the following writers:

  • Shrinking Violet: Attends group once and only once, having relied on Grandma (without her reading glasses) and her cat, Mr. Snickles (with his reading glasses), to review her work in the past. Any negative comments will cause her to wither, abandon her literary pursuits, and take up knitting cat hair ponchos instead.

To read the rest of my guest post, I hope you’ll click over to Yawatta Hosby’s blog. You can either leave a comment on her page or come back to mind and leave it. Happy reading!


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