Critiqued? Cry and Throw Things

I’ve had inquiries this month about critique openings  after Christmas. I’m now filling time slots in January through March. At the website page you’ll find the particulars (what and how I critique, how long it takes, cost, etc.)

This news comes with a “warning”.

Critique Shock

What’s this about crying and throwing things???

It’s in a quote from an author/editor who was talking about being critiqued. (Editors used to have time to do the lengthy critiques I now do for writers–five or six single-spaced pages of overall concerns as well as craft problems and line edits.) Being thoroughly critiqued is hard on everyone–no matter how much you’ve been published! On the other hand, if they’re not thorough, a critique isn’t worth your money.

Curse and Cry Period

Here’s what she said–and take it to heart:

“I tell writers whose work I edit that they should allow themselves a curse-and-cry period. This is after they receive the edited manuscript back from me. You’re never truly prepared for that marked-up manuscript. You’re immediately mad and crushed when you see all the things either that you didn’t do right or that this stupid reader didn’t understand. Criticism always hurts at some level. So let it hurt. Cry and throw things–I do–and then after you’ve vented and can calm down, go back and look at every mark and ask yourself each time if there’s any merit at all to this correction or question.” (Vinita Hampton Wright in The Soul Tells a Story.)

My Goal and Yours

If you have a manuscript that you feel is ready to be critiqued, I’d be glad to hear from you. I just like to forewarn people that I’m thorough. I’m not cruel and I try not to be blunt, and I always first point out the things you do well. But my goal is to help you pull your manuscript up to a more professional level so it can compete well in the marketplace.

One of my happiest times is when I get a package in the mail that turns out to be an autographed book inscribed with “thank you so much for your help in getting this book published…” My most recent gift was a thank-you note and a hardcover copy of Chasing the Nightbird (Peachtree Publishers) by Atlanta author, Krista Russell. I don’t know if she cried or threw things when she got my critique back, but she worked hard to make changes, and it paid off in a beautiful book.

Curse…cry…throw things if you need to. Then take a deep breath, re-vision your story, and get to work! You’ll be glad you did.


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