Monday, January 27, 2014

How to cope with major critiques/edits

I'm drawing today's blog inspiration from the list of 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers. Let me know if you do the same!

Today's topic: How to cope with major critques or edits of your story

Tears. Lots and lots of tears.

Just kidding! Being a writing major/MFA candidate has forced me to develop a thick skin, but some critiques still sting. (This also means I’m oddly sensitive about everything else. Like if my boss at work walks by my office without saying hello, I’m crushed.) I’ve learned that when someone critiques my story in workshop, they aren’t doing it to hurt me (at least I’ve been fortunate enough to have kind and helpful people in my classes). Most people have really helpful ideas for my stories, and they want to see them improve.

After a workshop I usually dive right back into the story while everything is fresh in my mind instead of letting myself stew over the critique. So that’s my advice: go right back to your story and make the necessary changes. UNLESS those changes are drastic, like start over completely from a different POV or get rid of this character. If you feel super unsure about a change, don’t hit that delete key right away. Brainstorm, outline, write out some new scenes with those changes just to see how they’d work in the story before you go back to your workshopped draft.

And always, always, ALWAYS save your old drafts. If it turns out that the critic from your class was out of his or her mind and had awful ideas, you’ll want to have your previous draft to undo those changes.  

What are your coping mechanisms for tough criticism?  


  1. Tears. Lots and lots of tears.


    I'm actually the opposite of you. I usually take time to let the comments really sink in before I even think of going back to the draft. Sometimes I run with them, sometimes I don't, but I always feel the need to really focus on them for awhile and see if they feel organic to the story. Giving myself some time also helps rebuild the thick skin so I can approach it objectively and strengthen the writing. Oh my gosh, and yes, ALWAYS save the drafts!! :)

    1. I have SO MANY files that end with d1, d2, d3, because I save EVERY draft I do. Even though 99% of the time I never go back to them. Paranoid? I prefer to think of it as cautious! ;)


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