Accepting or giving critiques is part of the writing process; either as an author or an editor.
As an author, you will, at some point, have someone critique your writing. That is, if you plan on having it published in some way. Someone’s going to read it and give their opinion about your writing. Most authors are very protective of their writing. They find that any negative feedback is either a direct reflection of their writing abilities or an attack on their story. If you want an honest, unbiased critique of your article, then you will have to loosen the reins and step back away from the story. Then, you will see it through the eyes of the reader.
For some, this is tough to do. Most authors will have to incorporate the help of an outside editor versus doing it themselves. I recommend getting a professional editor to edit your story because, as an author, you are often too close to the story to see any flaws. It may be difficult, but it is important for you to take those notes from your editor seriously and not take it personally. If the editor is confused by your plotline or sees a flaw in one of the characters, then most likely, so will the reader. The positive feedback is good and necessary, but so is the negative. It could save you from embarrassment or more importantly, help you have a more polished story that is ready for publishing. But there are always two sides to every coin, and the editor has to take some things into account also.
Accepting or Giving Critiques
As an editor, you must keep in mind that you are editing something that holds a lot of value to someone. With that in mind, you should edit with professionalism, care, tact, and honesty. It’s not your job to rewrite the story. However, it is your job to tell the author if you believe it should be rewritten. It is not your job to just be friendly and agreeable and say, “This story is excellent,” if you know that it’s not. You’re not doing the author any favors by restraining the negative comments. On the flip side, your comments should not all be negative either. Otherwise, it will seem as though you are making a personal attack on the author or their work.
If you happen to be reading an exceptionally poorly written story, it’s okay to point out what’s wrong with the story and how it can be better. However, you can also say something positive. Maybe the plotline is confusing and jumbled, and some of the characters don’t make sense. But the author’s use of imagery is good; it is important to say both.
Accepting or giving critiques may not always be easy, but it’s a necessary part of the author/editor relationship.
Originally posted 5/1/2009 and happily updated 11/14/2017. Thanks for reading!