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M.Austin
04-29-2010, 10:45 PM
So, I'm getting to the point where the next way for me to grow as a writer is to put my book out there and get multiple opinions.

That's terrifying.

I've always been a very confident person, and I've -never- had to put myself out there when I knew I needed tons of help. So, my question is how do I prepare myself for it? Nobody likes an ungrateful brat who ignores suggestions, and I'm afraid I'll be that person because I'm so self conscious. I won't accept that about myself either.

How exactly to I grow thicker skin? Is there a particular way you look at it in order to make sure you don't get your feelings hurt?

Midnight Star
04-29-2010, 10:51 PM
I had this same problem when I started out. I think the way that I learned to grow thicker skin was by reading the comments and using them to my advantage; fixing things that needed fixing. It took a while, and a lot of critiques, but I think that I've built up a thick enough skin for now, and it's getting thicker. You just have to learn to take the comments with a grain of salt and remember that they're trying to help you, not personally attack you.

Cyia
04-29-2010, 11:01 PM
Go into SYW without a flak jacket and let the squirrels surgically remove your ego with a bazooka. After that, you develop a nice, thick callous to replace it and the rest is a cake walk.

:D

CheyElizabeth
04-29-2010, 11:02 PM
I've never had this problem. I think it's because I put my book out there expecting it to fail. (Not because I think I suck as a writer, but because the industry is so tough) So when I got requests, I would freak out with excitement and when I was rejected, I was expecting it so no harm done.

But that's just me.. and from what I've read on here, I'm in the minority.

So, although this is terribly bad advice, perhaps you should train yourself to expect failure and maybe you'll be surprised =)

Soccer Mom
04-29-2010, 11:06 PM
First, congrats on getting to a point where you're ready to share your work. It's a big step, but a necessary one. You need objective critiques and guidance to grow as a writer. Now some advice.

You are not your book. Your book is not your baby. It is not an extension of yourself. It is not your soul. You may have put your blood, sweat and tears into writing it, but it is just a product. When people critique your writing, it is not a reflection on how much they like you. Critiques on writing are not indicative of your worth as a person. The more you are able to seperate your self from your writing, the easier the critiques will be to take.

Don't respond right away. It's natural to want to know immediately what people think. When you get feedback, you want to jump on it right away and start fixing issues. Don't. Digest it. Think on it. Absorb it. Also, don't argue or try to defend your work. If you have to explain something to the reader, then there is a problem with the writing. Simply thank the reviewer for taking the time and think on the critique. Vent to your close friends or pound your pillow, but don't ever argue.

Good luck and don't be afraid to take the plunge. If you're ever going to put it out there for agents and editors, you'll need to overcome the stage fright. This is how you do it. One critique at a time.

dgrintalis
04-29-2010, 11:17 PM
I have rock hard skin when it comes to my writing. You could read my stuff, tell me you hate my work and think I'm nothing more than an overblown hack, and I'd smile and say thank you for your time.

If you don't have armadillo skin, one thing to keep in mind is that a critique (harsh or not) is a crit of your work, not you personally. Even if a crit feels like a sucker punch to the gut, be gracious, say thank you, and when the sting wears off, take a good look at their comments and see if they have merit. Often they do. And remember, a critique is someone's opinion based on their own subjective tastes and likes/dislike. Listen to their comments, thank them for their time and feedback, but remember, at the end of the day, it's your book, and you don't have to make their suggested changes.

M.Austin
04-29-2010, 11:34 PM
Thanks guys. =) I think I'll post my first chapter in the YA SYW tomorrow before work. Cross your fingers for me, and thanks again.

Dgrin, I've read some of your work and absolutely admire your voice. There's a reason you don't care, and it's because you're damn good. =P

Cella
04-29-2010, 11:36 PM
I've never had this problem. I think it's because I put my book out there expecting it to fail. (Not because I think I suck as a writer, but because the industry is so tough) So when I got requests, I would freak out with excitement and when I was rejected, I was expecting it so no harm done.

But that's just me.. and from what I've read on here, I'm in the minority.

So, although this is terribly bad advice, perhaps you should train yourself to expect failure and maybe you'll be surprised =)
same here :)

Dungeon Geek
04-29-2010, 11:37 PM
Think of this: Negative emotions like fear and anxiety can be overcome by physical actions. Physically, can you submit your stuff? You bet you can. Therefore, negative emotions can only make you feel uncomfortable at times; they can't stop you from submitting. I don't think you need a thicker skin, as long you insist on doing what is logical to advance your career regardless of anxiety. Write your checklist of important writing tasks and then follow it no matter how you feel.

M.Austin
04-29-2010, 11:43 PM
Therefore, negative emotions can only make you feel uncomfortable at times; they can't stop you from submitting. I don't think you need a thicker skin, as long you insist on doing what is logical to advance your career regardless of anxiety. Write your checklist of important writing tasks and then follow it no matter how you feel.
I threw up for three days straight after submitting the first chapter of my first book to an old professor of mine after seeing all the changes he suggested. It was about four years ago, and I've learned so much since then. The initial fear is still there, though.

I know it's necessary to move; so I'm going to follow it. I just wasn't too sure if there was a secret that I missed the memo on =P

dgrintalis
04-29-2010, 11:55 PM
Dgrin, I've read some of your work and absolutely admire your voice. There's a reason you don't care, and it's because you're damn good. =P

Okay, you made me blush. Not fair. Thank you very much for the compliment, but I really do care what people think. I hope my post didn't come across as contrary to that. I value critiques just as much as the next writer. I just don't let someone's dislike or criticism of my work tear me to pieces inside, because I can't please everyone and not everyone will like my work--that's a universal truth. And again, my work isn't me.

geardrops
04-29-2010, 11:57 PM
Don't respond right away.

I can't echo this enough.

When you're first getting crits back, don't respond. Wait -- at bare minimum -- 24 hours. If you feel you must write a snarky reply, do it on a sheet of paper, then set fire to it and flush the ashes.



Then, triage the replies you get:

(1) Jesus Christ, they're totally right, and I hate how right they are, but they ARE.

(2) Ehhhh. I don't really feel like this works. It doesn't fit what I'm trying to do. Doesn't resonate with me.

(3) WTF is this person on? Did they even read my story?



And then your responses should be:

(1) Thank you. (Optional: You're totally right, thanks for spotting that.)

(2) Thank you. (Optional: I'll have to think about this while I'm editing.)

(3) Thank you. (Optional: I appreciate the time you took to read and respond to my story.)



Fastest way to develop a thick skin is act like you have one. Like my dad always said to me, fake it until you make it.

Monkey
04-30-2010, 12:05 AM
Two simple steps to a happy SYW experience:

First, the best response from you is a simple "Thank you." That's all you have to say. It doesn't mean that you agree with them or will take their advice, just that you appreciate that they took the time to look over your writing and comment. It'll keep you looking classy and won't discourage others from posting crits of your work.

Second, maintain a healthy emotional distance. This is the hard part, of course, but if you only respond with "thank you", then no one will ever know if you falter a bit at first. It helps to submit a piece of your work that, while finished and edited, is not your favorite. It also helps to crit other people's work and read other crits while you wait--then, when someone tells you the same thing you told someone else, it's easy to recognize the lack of malice and the actual desire to help that engendered the comment. Remember that ANY written work can be critiqued, no matter how "perfect". And finally, give it time. You might not agree with any of the responses right away, but when you come back in a month's time and re-read, you might be surprised how a comment that seemed almost nasty before now seems not only reasonable, but like a godsend!

Can you tell that I didn't start out with rhinohide? :D

You'll get there. Oh, and also, remember this: while SYW might seem scary, there's no actual success or failure there, and nothing's on the line. The harshest SYW crit gives you something to work with and somewhere to go, but a form rejection from an agent just sucks.

Best of luck!

Ineti
04-30-2010, 12:08 AM
How exactly to I grow thicker skin? Is there a particular way you look at it in order to make sure you don't get your feelings hurt?

Just send the work out. Don't overthink it. And don't think a rejection letter is an attack on YOU. Editors and agents reject stories and novels all the time, for any number of reasons. What works for one market doesn't work for another.

As long as you have confidence in your work, you'll be fine.

I wouldn't suggest posting your writing or going to a crit group, though. All you'll end up with are tons of opinions. Send your work to people who might be able to buy it or represent it.

Good luck!

Miss Plum
04-30-2010, 12:13 AM
How exactly to I grow thicker skin? Is there a particular way you look at it in order to make sure you don't get your feelings hurt?
You could also try the SYW exercise in reverse; go look at some drafts, either here or on other writers' forums, and critique them -- not necessarily on the site, but at least for yourself. Notice how you honestly expose flaws, respond to weaknesses, point out plot holes, feel what doesn't work in the style, etc. You might even cringe and complain. Then notice something else: you have nothing against the other writer. It's merely an objective, honest view of a peer's work. Has nothing to do with anyone's character or feelings; it's just this particular thing they've produced.

Now take a step back, and see that this is the same thing that's happening to you when you get reviewed. Someone is looking at your work and responding to the words on the page, not shooting flaming arrows at you.

M.Austin
04-30-2010, 12:58 AM
Okay, posted the first chapter here (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=4908842#post4908842). I'll be at my mother's for most of the night, so hopefully I won't be fretting too much about it.

Thank you all so much for the help and encouragement. You guys really helped me step out of my little protective shell. =)

Jamesaritchie
04-30-2010, 03:53 AM
My experience is a little different. Way back decades ago, I showed my first short story to two critique groups, one of which had professional writers as members. Every member found something seriously wrong with the story. All said it was completely unpublishable, and need a LOT of work.

This didn't hurt my feelings because it was my first short story. But I took the story home, read it, liked it a sit was, and decided to submit it. It sold, as was, to the first national glossy that read it.

I thinjk it's just basic human nature to find flaws when doing a critique, even if there are none.

Being a slow learner, I repeated the experience with my next two stories, again with similar results. According to the groups, the stories were seriously flawed and unpublishable. Again, both stories sold, as was, to the first magazines I sent them to. Just like that, I was making more money from writing than from my crappy day job, and with stories that critique groups thought were unpublishable.

As a teaching tool, I've repeated this process with workshops and writers groups over the years, and I've yet to submit a published story by any writer that didn't receive severe criticism, as long as the writers in the group or workshop thought the story had been written by a new, unpublished writer.

I learned my lessons. I have a tough skin, but I also have a better nose for what is and isn't publishable than do beta readers. If an editor spots a flaw, I tend to believe him, and it doesn't hurt my feelings a bit. Other than this, I can do my own writing, take the credit when something is right, and take the blame when it's wrong.

backslashbaby
04-30-2010, 04:49 AM
My feelings on it:

#1 I liked it. That doesn't have to mean anything to anyone else, but it means a lot to me.

#2 I'll happily change it if parts can be made better for other people. The reader is king.

#3 You'll help me find those parts? Cool!!

If a critter thinks I'm a bad writer, I say 'meh'. It's not finished yet, and I already liked it ;)

aadams73
04-30-2010, 05:49 AM
How exactly to I grow thicker skin? Is there a particular way you look at it in order to make sure you don't get your feelings hurt?

I did ballet, so I developed an artistically thick skin early on. ;)

But with regards, specifically, to writing, you just have to remember that they're criticizing your work, not you. Anyone who offers an opinion brings their own skills (or lack thereof) to the table, as well as their own prejudices and--in some cases--agendas. Criticism is subjective by nature.

So sift through their words and pull out the pieces that ring true and appear consistently. When several people make a similar comment, it's time to consider that their opinion may have merit.

But, also, never forget that some people's criticisms are downright ridiculous.

Use what you can, throw away the rest, and remember: it's not personal.

Unimportant
04-30-2010, 06:51 AM
Don't respond right away.
This.

blacbird
04-30-2010, 10:41 AM
My experience is a little different. Way back decades ago, I showed my first short story to two critique groups, one of which had professional writers as members. Every member found something seriously wrong with the story. All said it was completely unpublishable, and need a LOT of work.

This didn't hurt my feelings because it was my first short story. But I took the story home, read it, liked it a sit was, and decided to submit it. It sold, as was, to the first national glossy that read it.

One of the surest ways to grow a thick skin as a writer is to have the first bullet out of the muzzle kill the big bear.

caw

Becky Black
04-30-2010, 01:42 PM
It took me years to be able to share anything and so far I've still only managed to do so over the Internet - because the people on the Internet aren't really quite real you know. :D

It was just a case of time, getting use to it. Discovering that nobody was going to go "Oh my god, this is total trash!" helped and I just grew in confidence. I can take much more blunt critique now than I could five years ago.

One thing you could do it try going over one of your own stories with your more harsh critical hat on and really picking out anything you think could be a problem and you've been hoping nobody else would notice. I've just finished editing a novel, and had added lots of comment bubbles in Word during my first read of it. General points to fix when editing etc. Later it struck me how snarky and downright mean some of the comments were! I'd never be that nasty when doing a beta on someone else's work. So if you maybe go through and give your own work a good drubbing then anything anyone else says is probably going to be flattering by comparison!

Good luck!

kaitie
04-30-2010, 02:50 PM
I had this same problem when I started out. I think the way that I learned to grow thicker skin was by reading the comments and using them to my advantage; fixing things that needed fixing. It took a while, and a lot of critiques, but I think that I've built up a thick enough skin for now, and it's getting thicker. You just have to learn to take the comments with a grain of salt and remember that they're trying to help you, not personally attack you.

This. And I still cry when I get a particularly bad crit. :D The thing is, even when I'm crying and feeling like I'm just completely incapable of writing anything worthwhile, I also know that in a couple of hours I'm going to sit down and fix it, and that my work will be better for it. I don't mind rejection letters nearly so much as getting feedback on my work. Those I still get nervous about. I've got someone helping me out with my story now, and each time I get something back, I still have that moment of "eep, what on earth did she say?" Of course, it's never as bad as I expected. ;)

The thing is, even when I get a crit back just marked up with tons of things I've done wrong, I always know that I can improve. It's really not so bad, and you do get used to it. Even if I still get nervous, I'm much better than I once was. The great thing about writing is that you get to rewrite as many times as you like. That's an amazing, great thing. I mean, think about it. It's not like taking a test where if you fail that's it. You get to redo it over and over until you've got that 100% you're looking for. That's a pretty awesome thing, isn't it?

JimmyB27
04-30-2010, 04:15 PM
I have rock hard skin when it comes to my writing. You could read my stuff, tell me you hate my work and think I'm nothing more than an overblown hack, and I'd smile and say thank you for your time.
I'd take this as a compliment.



I mean, it worked for Dan Brown, right?

C.M.C.
04-30-2010, 06:22 PM
My two suggestions:

1) Low expectations - Don't submit a book expecting it to be universally loved, because no book has ever been.

2) Find and read rejections other people have gotten - Get used to the language of rejection, and see that even the writers you love had to suffer through it.

Jamesaritchie
04-30-2010, 07:43 PM
One of the surest ways to grow a thick skin as a writer is to have the first bullet out of the muzzle kill the big bear.

caw

Good point.

Toothpaste
04-30-2010, 07:58 PM
My advice is always to screw the concept of "thicker skin".

I am stupidly sensitive. And every rejection I get hurts profoundly (and I've now been doing this for a little while :) ). I'm never going to have skin thick as hide. I know it. And for a while I would get mad at myself for being too sensitive.

Then I realised that I don't need a thick skin. All I need is my drive. And when it comes to ambition and drive, I have that in spades. Also stubbornness. So it doesn't matter how many rejections I get, I don't let any of them prevent me from pursuing my dream.

So. When I get rejected, I feel the sting. I cry. I rant to friends. I take the time to process the emotion and let it pass through me. Then. I move on to the next thing. The key for me is not to bottle up what I'm feeling, nor add to the feeling by beating myself up for feeling. If I feel what I feel, then I'm good to go by the next day, sometimes the next hour.

Heck on the phone sobbing to my agent who had just said we had to part ways, I was thinking of who of my contacts to call the second I hung up so I could get a new agent. Yes I was distraught. But I didn't let it affect solving the problem.

So I say feel the feeling. Don't make it about being tough, or cynical or whatever. Make it about being professional. Don't let anything sway you from your goals, and so long as you have that attitude the rest of it, all the frustration, fear, and angst? They won't hold you back even if you feel them.

Cassiopeia
04-30-2010, 08:09 PM
It isn't that you need a thick skin. You need a perspective that allows you to submit your work and see it as a natural part of the process. I was praised recently by someone I greatly respect in the writing industry. She told me, "I'm glad to see you so willing to receive critiques on your work, it's the earmark of a professional writer."

She went on to critique a short of mine and though I haven't changed my story the way she said, her advice was invaluable. I use it when I weigh my writing because while our styles are different, she had an insight that I'd overlooked and I'm better for it.

You've gotten great responses from others here so I'll just add one more tidbit. When someone comes back with a critique that attacks you and not your writing, ignore them out of hand. Nothing of value can come of it. Watch others who give critiques and when you see that they give valuable advice, seek them out for help.

And always be humble enough to be teachable. Be grateful and mean it.

These perspectives naturally bolster you up with a great deal of self esteem and confidence which is far more protective than a thick skin. To me thick skin can be indicative of insensitivity and as a writer that can be death to your ability to write stories that ring true.

Jamesaritchie
04-30-2010, 08:28 PM
She told me, "I'm glad to see you so willing to receive critiques on your work, it's the earmark of a professional writer."

.

God, I hate that attitude. It simply isn't true. Or wasn't until very recently.

M.Austin
04-30-2010, 08:44 PM
My advice is always to screw the concept of "thicker skin".

I am stupidly sensitive. And every rejection I get hurts profoundly (and I've now been doing this for a little while :) ). I'm never going to have skin thick as hide. I know it. And for a while I would get mad at myself for being too sensitive.

Then I realised that I don't need a thick skin. All I need is my drive. And when it comes to ambition and drive, I have that in spades. Also stubbornness. So it doesn't matter how many rejections I get, I don't let any of them prevent me from pursuing my dream.

So. When I get rejected, I feel the sting. I cry. I rant to friends. I take the time to process the emotion and let it pass through me. Then. I move on to the next thing. The key for me is not to bottle up what I'm feeling, nor add to the feeling by beating myself up for feeling. If I feel what I feel, then I'm good to go by the next day, sometimes the next hour.

Heck on the phone sobbing to my agent who had just said we had to part ways, I was thinking of who of my contacts to call the second I hung up so I could get a new agent. Yes I was distraught. But I didn't let it affect solving the problem.

So I say feel the feeling. Don't make it about being tough, or cynical or whatever. Make it about being professional. Don't let anything sway you from your goals, and so long as you have that attitude the rest of it, all the frustration, fear, and angst? They won't hold you back even if you feel them.

I have to say that I'm probably going to have to say screw thicker skin in general. I can't force myself to have low expectations because I've only worked so damn hard to become published one day. And I think naturally I just care way too much about everything.

I definitely envy those with thick skin, though.

I'm just glad everything I've received so far as been great information and perfect help. Everyone on the forums seems so helpful.

linfred4
04-30-2010, 08:49 PM
Hi, everyone

I know how you feeling when it comes to growing a thicker skin, for many years i didn't believe anything would come of my writing plus my mom didn't think writing is hard work. But now thanks to my hubby and best friend and my mom after she read one of my story they all think i should show the world so I looked around and found Blood Words and i will be going to that at the end of May. I can't wait, i have enter one contest and another one through some place else so we will see :)

Cassiopeia
04-30-2010, 09:44 PM
God, I hate that attitude. It simply isn't true. Or wasn't until very recently.why would you hate something that is actually a viable skill in becoming a professional writer?

Being willing to take a critique and not be all pissy about it is sign of professionalism.

Monkey
04-30-2010, 11:01 PM
Look at Query Letter Hell, and choose a couple of queries that have more than one version posted.

There have been a scant few times where the revised wasn't as good as the original, but in those cases, the critiquers have been very good at saying so. Most of the time--far and away--the queries have improved dramatically.

I've gone to QLH with my queries and posted chapters in other sections of SYW, and each time, I've felt like they left far stronger than they came in.

James had an unsatisfactory experience with his critique group. Maybe they just weren't that good at spotting a saleable work, despite being published themselves. Maybe they were simply pointing out everything that could possibly be an issue, no matter how minor. Or maybe they were just being catty. Who the hell knows? The moral of the story was that he didn't listen to them, got published, and never looked back.

I say that was AWESOME. You should absolutely ignore critiques that you don't agree with--that is, so long as you've taken the time to absorb and reflect and taken an honest second look at your work first.

It's those critiques that you DO agree with...the ones you read and think, "Oh, crap, they're right..." that are valuable to you. The others you can ignore (preferably with a polite "Thank you".)

But in the end, you have to be like James and decide what value, if any, the critiques have for you, and then trust in your own vision for your story.

I don't see any conflict at all in what he's saying and in what everyone else has said.

Jadedinsc
04-30-2010, 11:43 PM
I have to say that I'm probably going to have to say screw thicker skin in general. I can't force myself to have low expectations because I've only worked so damn hard to become published one day. And I think naturally I just care way too much about everything.

I definitely envy those with thick skin, though.

I have always been thin-skinned, and although it's become heavily calloused over the years, I know I will always be a bit sensitive. Harsh critiques about my writing are still an Achilles' heel for me, and there have been times when I've had those brief moments of "I can't do this so why am I bothering?" There was even a point when I did try to make myself stop writing a couple of years ago after a friend said some overly harsh things (and it was the sort of criticism that wasn't terribly constructive looking back on it), but it lasted for all of maybe a week or two and then I was coming up with new ideas. So, when I do get to the point where I'm putting my writing out there for critique beyond close friends, I know there'll be some tears and some anger, but in the end I can't stop writing. I just won't let myself because it's too much fun. :)

So yeah, screw the idea that you have to develop thicker skin. All you really need is the drive and the desire to keep getting back on that proverbial horse no matter how much you fall off. Well, that and decent grammar. ;)

Kitty27
04-30-2010, 11:50 PM
I don't give a what. My skin is as hard as polished topaz,baby.

I take crits well,because they actually help. People who are genuinely interested critique well and help so much. They aren't trying to tear you down or hurt your feelings. Also,if you put your work out there,it is guaranteed that somebody will hate it.


I've also experienced the other side aka people who tear a work down just for the pleasure of it. You can quickly tell who these unpleasant folk are and avoid them.

If you say you hate my work,I smile and wish a hoodoo hex upon you.

*Just kidding*

JimmyB27
05-01-2010, 04:47 AM
I don't like Shakespeare.
Seems like a random tangent, but if I can not like Shakespeare, Shakespeare, for dog's sake, I'm quite happy with the possibility that there might be one or two people out there who might not like my writing, deluded souls that they are. ;)


Which is all a very roundabout way of saying, 'different strokes for different folks'. Not everyone can like what you write, no matter how good you are.

scarletpeaches
05-01-2010, 04:52 AM
God, I hate that attitude. It simply isn't true. Or wasn't until very recently.Anne?

Anne Rice?

Is that you?

Becky Black
05-01-2010, 11:00 AM
I'd also add, don't worry about what you feel in reaction to something. You can't control your feelings. Don't feel guilty if you feel hurt and rejected when the critique arrives. Having those feelings doesn't make you unprofessional. What you do afterwards is what counts. Allow yourself to have the feelings and then move on from them.

Also, in many ways it's a good sign that you do feel bad when someone criticises something you wrote. That shows it matters to you, and if it matters enough to upset you then it matters enough to try to improve it.

Linda Adams
05-01-2010, 03:30 PM
How exactly to I grow thicker skin? Is there a particular way you look at it in order to make sure you don't get your feelings hurt?

Probably still going to happen anyway. I generally am not bothered by critiques. But at the last one, I was ganged up on by people who attacked me for writing in omniscient viewpoint (not because the writing was done poorly; there were few comments on actual writing). It was so bad that I had to take six weeks off the book to see things objectively again (and I still went through and thanked everyone, though that was all I did). Sometimes it is going to catch you off guard.

These are some things that may help:

1. After you get the critique, let it sit for a while. Sometimes there is an initial reaction to the comments, but once you read it again, you'll wonder why you reacted like that in the first place. Time will give you a chance to read the comments more objectively.

2. Remember that just because someone makes a comment--good or bad--doesn't mean it's a call for action, or even that there's a problem in the story. Not every one is right, and sometimes people will react badly to something in your work that has nothing to do with the story (see #1). When I was cowriting, cowriter asked a romance writer to read our book. She got seventy pages in, stopped, and wrote four pages of scathing comments. Her kindest words were "Your prose is clean." The first thing I noticed when I read her comments was that she was angry. Very angry. I set the comments down and reread them the next day. It was obvious she really hated the book. We thanked her, but didn't use any of the comments. About six weeks later, cowriter figured out why she hated the book. Turned out she was vehemently anti-gun, and we were a Civil War novel with soldiers. Kind of hard to avoid the guns. On page seventy, a character pulled a gun. That's what set her off. Had nothing to do with us.

3. Always, always take yourself and your book into account first. You're the one writing it, and you're the one who's name goes on it. Critiquers are not always right, and sometimes they get it really wrong. I wouldn't even go by the 'if three critiquers comment on it, then it needs to be fixed' rule because you'll find an exception to it where everyone is wrong. Always weigh in all comments with brutal practicality. Is this right for what I intend for my book and is it right for the way I write? If you're not sure, see #1. You can always come back to comments.

4. When you receive comments, note the problem, but find your own way to solve it. Some people will explain to you how to fix it, and that may in itself get a reaction because it may be the wrong way to fix it for you. And again, when in doubt, wait.

The biggest thing in this is that you need to control the time because that will give you a different perspective and give you time to think. The worst thing you can do is rush into make changes immediately because someone else said them, and the changes are really wrong for your story. You always have to respect yourself and your opinions first and foremost.