Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Better the Rebuke of the Wise: Eccl. 7:6

"It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise than for a man to hear the song of fools. For like the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool" Eccl. 7:6

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.

English: Pink emoticon cryingI had enrolled in the Journeyman course, offered by the Christian Writers' Guild, because I knew I needed to hone my skills. My writing performed well on contests, received positive feedback from others, but I never nabbed an award or agent--let alone a book contract. Thus the need for the course.

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?
  1. The dress/shirt looks lovely on you, when, in fact, you look like a Ringling Brother employee.
  2. I like the haircut. And after wearing that style for three years realize you looked like Marge Simpson or Cosmo Kramer.
  3. You sing wonderfully. Then you step out and audition for community choir.
  4. I love this meal. Well, the complimentor pays the price on this one because you keep cooking it.
A fool is loud, firy, and soon burned out.  A wise person endures.

Isn't criticism (done in love) better than the ravings of a fool?


  1. I didn't know you were taking CWG's Journeyman course. How often do you submit a lesson and how well do you like the course?

    I finished the Apprentice course in July. It was a 2-year program when I started it but now has been divided up into smaller bits. I found the lessons on target for me as a fledgling writer. By the way, on New Year's Day, I saw my first paycheck from an article I submitted in the summer.

    1. Tom, I'm learning a lot for J'man. The lessons run every two weeks. Some I know, but I need to shore up my weak areas. Haven't gotten an agent interested, and do okay on contests, so I need to amp my skill.