That’s the worst writing advice I’ve ever received. Everything’s fine.
I was a young writer, just starting out and obviously hadn’t published anything yet. I was still trying to find my footing in the writerly world and I knew that the best way to polish my stuff was to find a critique partner. So I signed up for a critique matching service a very popular writer (and rockstar in my eyes) had set up.
Full of nerves, I sent my chapter into the group and waited impatiently for the chapter I was to critique in return. When it arrived I spent a few hours going over with a fine tooth comb, pointing out repetitive phrases, asking for more clarification here or to cut back on too much exposition there. I spent hours on it. Then I sent it back to the coordinator and waited to get my own critique back.
When it finally arrived, there were two little words written in the margins.
That’s it. Apparently it was perfect and didn’t need any improvement…
As much as I’d like to think I’m a special little snowflake who can do no wrong, I think we all know that’s the never the case. Everything can use improvement. Hell, if I could get my hands on my first published story again, I’d hack away at that sucker. And that’s after several rounds with both a content and line editor.
In the end, I politely informed the coordinator who was horrified and offered to critique my chapter herself. Like I could turn that offer down! So it all worked out and I didn’t have a hard time accepting the fact that I’m not a perfect little snowflake after all.
Have you ever had an awkward critique relationship?