I recently started a new novel. Writing on a roll, I had a dynamic opening: fire, poverty, death of a toddler. Who could resist this intro? Apparently, my mentor could.
I submitted my first assignment and waited to hear from Yvonne. And when she returned my work, I discovered I did not awe her. Quite the contrary with the list of concerns she mentioned. Not wanting to aggravate her over the six months of this course, I reworked my masterpiece. The end result shone. All my regular crit partners loved it. (Even my mother).
Many a time I returned critiques to my crit partners feeling as though I bashed them. I apologized in my emails and cringed as I hit send. But I wanted their work to shine, and I had to tell the truth. So too, I took this course because I haven't made the grade. If I didn't trust the wisdom of an established writer, then I was no better than the crackling fool of Ecclesiastes 7:6. Impartial criticism is better than fatuous praise.
Think of your own life. Do you want some fool to say?
- The dress/shirt looks lovely on you, when, in fact, you look like a Ringling Brother employee.
- I like the haircut. And after wearing that style for three years realize you looked like Marge Simpson or Cosmo Kramer.
- You sing wonderfully. Then you step out and audition for community choir.
- I love this meal. Well, the complimentor pays the price on this one because you keep cooking it.
Isn't criticism (done in love) better than the ravings of a fool?