Thursday, January 19, 2012
So Your Critique Group's Awesome. Now What? How Do You Decide Which Notes to Implement?
Assuming you already have a core group of committed critique partners whose opinions and advice you respect, it's still difficult to decide which notes to listen to, and which to ignore!
Here's how I go about figuring it out:
1. Is there a consensus about some aspect of the story? (Do 3 out of 3 AI judges agree?) Then take another look at the problem, even if you don't want to, even if it's a pain in the butt to fix. There's a reason they all brought it up spontaneously. It's a problem. Consider this a bonus. It makes things easier.
2. What does your gut tell you? Even if only one person sees a particular problem, that doesn't mean you can automatically disregard it. You can usually tell right away if he or she has hit a nerve. Did you feel defensive or self-concious when it was brought up? Were you secretly hoping nobody would notice it? It's probably worth changing or you wouldn't have had that reaction.
3. What does your gut tell you, part B: Is the reader trying to help you tell your story, or are they trying to help you tell the story they wish you had written? If the former, give it serious consideration. If the latter, don't worry about it and move on. Luckily, it's been a long time since I've run into this dilemma; my beta readers all seem to "get" my style and help me see it through. I'm super grateful for them!
How do you handle critiques? Do you follow the above guidelines or do you think I'm nuts?