Friday, May 4, 2012

Five Stages in Reacting to a Critique

I got some tough advice from my critique buddies this week. One of the chapters of my work-in-progress just wasn't working for them. I went through the usual stages:

1) Numbness and shock - "Really? I can't believe that chapter was so bad."

2) Denial - "But I need these scenes to set up the conclusion. They just don't get it!"

3) Depression - "Sometimes it seems like I'm never going to get it right."

4) Working through it - "What if...? Maybe... I could try..."

5) Acceptance - "They were right. The old chapter didn't move the story forward."

Even though at first it stung a little, after giving their critiques time to settle, I realized they were right.  [It's always a big tip off when more than one person says essentially the same thing.] After some brainstorming, I ended up with a new and much improved chapter. And lots of enthusiasm to continue working on the rest of the novel.

Yay for critique partners!


  1. I have one more stage. It's the freaked out feeling I have before I even open the feedback. I don't rush to open it. Sometimes it can take me a over a day to build up the courage to look at it. My CP thinks I have amazing will power. Ha! It's because I'm a chicken. :)

    1. I've had that feeling. Usually it's when I already know there's something wrong with what I've written but don't want to admit it.

  2. You forgot the "Eat all the chocolate in the house" stage! Oh, wait. That's pretty much something to go along with stages 1-4. :-)

    Thankfully, I usually cycle through the stages fairly quickly. Sometimes I need to lick my wounds for a few days, though. It happens.

    1. Ha - chocolate go along well with any stage in the writing process!

  3. Sometimes the criticism from our crit partners stings, but its always in favor of our stories. I too have gone through that cycle and finally done the changes keeping my story in mind.

  4. Great post. I've linked it to this week's The Funnily Enough


  5. This was good! The feelings your list encompassed were ones I have definitely experienced! But you are right, those critiquers are awesome and only make our stories better.


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