Yikes! I’m in a predicament. I have to give input on something that is confusing at best. Where do I start?
You know when you’re reading a piece you’ve been asked to critique or edit and while in the solitude of your own space a sentence jumps out and smacks you in the face, but not in a good way. You shake your head and reread it. First silently, then aloud to your dog who was sleeping peacefully before said sentence made its appearance known.
Yes, can you believe it, that is what they wrote? I ask my trusty and furry companion. He cannot.
His eyes suggest, as does his yawn, that I should move on. That maybe the next sentence will be better.
You know you’re in trouble when your forehead starts to ache. Each line across it deepening, and your dog gets up to find a quieter more peaceful spot.
How to put criticism or correction nicely? It’s an oxymoron of sorts. Now I know how to deal with this oxymoron, or I thought I did. I have in the past couched phrases to gently nudge, but its not my go to response, and its definitely not in this particular case.
Critiquing is headache provoking! At least for me it is.
You’re trying to make sense of what’s in front of you, all the while having a running inner monologue full of exclamations and explitives and at the same time trying to think of how you could, and should put a positive spin on your criticisms.
I think its time to take a Tylenol.
If this is a window into the daily task of an agent or editor it’s no wonder they push manuscripts aside if they’re not captivated after reading the first few lines.
What was it that Thumper said to Flower in Disney’s Bambi? “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.” That is a tempting road to take-but no that won’t go over well.
I’ll look at the manuscript again later, maybe I’ll have an epiphany and come up with magnificent efficient constructive criticism on the second go around.
Also I think its time I look at what I submitted. Is my critique partner reading my piece thinking exactly what I’m thinking about their piece? Not only do I have a headache, now I’m a bit nauseaus as well. I’ve got to go reread and probably revise.
Pssst-if you have any advice or suggestions on how you’ve constructively critiqued a difficult piece I’d appreciate it if you’d share them.