There was a post at the “Fiction Writers Guild” & “The Writers Network,” re: the value of critiques. The writer was unhappy about the fact that the critiquer she was using “didn’t get” what she was trying to do.

One of the problems we writers have IS getting our readers to “get it.” If they don’t, whose fault is that? It seems pretty obvious it’s the author’s responsibility to see that his readers understand what he or she is trying to say. If your critiquer doesn’t get it, surely your audience won’t either. Many authors have a problem with criticism. “How dare you challenge my work, that I slaved over and love.” That’s a prescription to failure.

When Dee Burks at TAG Publishers called me, saying they all loved TRAPPED, but felt it needed some content editing, I was excited. I LOVE positive imput, but ultimately, it’s up to the author to decide what works and what doesn’t. I embraced her suggestion of a single viewpoint (Jackee’s) throughout the novel, and felt some of her other suggestions were excellent. I balked, however, at changing the ending, and after some discussion, she agreed with my take. Overall, our collaboration made TRAPPED a great novel…and the most prevalent comment I get from readers is, “I LOVED the ending!” One wrote me she read it 3 TIMES, she loved it so much!

Ultimately, critiquing is still a matter of taste. See my earlier posts about contest judging. A smart author listens, and isn’t too proud to make changes that work, but is willing to resist things they think will compromise their story. It can be a delicate balancing act, but when well performed, can have wonderful results.

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