Weighing Critiques


A few posts ago, I said that being part of a long-standing writer’s group helped you anticipate some of the comments before they are made.

That’s not always the case. In my most recent writer’s group, one of the members made a comment I didn’t see coming.

In the original version of the piece, written and presented many moons ago, he hadn’t gotten what I considered to be the ah-ha moment. Most others had. When I edited the piece for this session, I made the ah-ha moment clearer, not because one person hadn’t gotten it, but because when I adjusted my main character’s reaction to be inline with what she would actually do, her reaction made the ah-ha more clear.

Whatever my reason for the change, I was eager to see if this time this person got it. Well, I didn’t quite anticipate his reaction. He did get it, but then didn’t get something else. I felt like I was treading water and getting no where.

After thinking about it for a while, I got it. This particular person likes things spelled out…right away. In the past, I’ve ignored him and agreed with him depending on where the scene is in my story. I shouldn’t leave people guessing for too long, but a little suspense is good. He wants question and answer right there on the same page.

Everyone else in the group was OK with how I structured the scene. They had definite thoughts on what they believed had happened…all in line with what I was hoping for.

Overall, I’m going to ignore his comment this time, but it makes me wonder, should I be listening to anything he says? Yes, I realize that’s harsh. Each critique is one person’s opinion and it’s up to the writer to weigh those opinions and decide if it’s right for the story or not. However, are there people you just shouldn’t listen to, period?

As much as I hate the term women’s fiction, I’m coming to terms with the fact that is probably what I’m writing. Knowing that, should the women in my writer’s group carry more weight than the men? Is it strictly about good writing and comments, or does it matter that the potential audience for the piece sees it one way? Since they tend to agree with the direction I’m going, I’m happy. But am I missing something by not listening as closely to the potentially non-core audience?


4 thoughts on “Weighing Critiques

  1. I must admit that I once told someone that I almost took it as a compliment that they didn’t like a certain piece I had written. – Now, I realise that was a bit rude, but the person had not exactly been kind in their critique of my story. I don’t think being that direct is always a good idea, but I do believe that it’s all right to take into consideration who is critiquing. This person was so far away from my target audience that it would have been very strange indeed if they had liked it.
    Well, I think listening is important. Taking all the points of view into consideration. But we can’t always, and shouldn’t, make absolutely everybody happy. We may want a broad audience, but sometimes we just can’t get everybody to like what we do.

  2. Pingback: The Empty Pen

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