While doing rewrites, I was looking through notes from the contest I entered and there was one spot where one of the reviewers said, "Well, that's convenient." As a writer, you don't want to hear that about something in your story. What made that statement worse was that it was something I'd put very early in a book where a group of teens were developing various abilities. I wanted this particular ability to be put to a much greater use near the end of the book, so I introduced it in a minor situation in order to introduce it without it being deemed "convenient." In other words, I had been quite aware that placing this ability in the wrong place or in the wrong way would be convenient, so I attempted to avoid that. That one comment, more than anything else in there, really stuck out and bothered me.
Instead of being vague, I'll just spell it out. I needed my heroine to have healing abilities for something major near the end of the book. I also feel it ties in with her other major ability. To introduce it, she accidentally discovers this power while nursing a minor cut near the beginning of the book. How is one supposed to introduce something to be used later on if not this way? I thought by it being near the beginning of the book, and for a very minor thing that would heal itself within a couple days, that it would be a valid introduction.
I still think that.
This is one of those criticisms that I will be ignoring. Feedback/critique is a wonderful thing. It leads us to see things we may have missed on our own, as well as showing us how things look to a reader. However, there's no way anyone can take every little criticism or suggestion and incorporate it into their story. There's also no way every single criticism or suggestion would necessarily improve anything. That one specific sentence was a reminder to me to lighten up and read my critiques with a critical eye. There were some wonderful things in there, including things I already questioned, but also some things that I didn't feel were valid for my work. This is going to be true of any critique we, as writers, get, so be sure you take feedback with a grain of salt. Just don't ignore it entirely, either, because there are bound to be gems mixed up in there, as well. Things that make you go "hmmmmm."
I also wanted to thank Michele, of A Wanderer in Paris, for the Versatile Blogger and One Lovely Blog awards. Michele is a children's writer participating in the Writer's Platform-Building Campaign.
A quick Project 52 update: I can now strike out #31-Reorganize Office. Woo-hoo! I'm not making good enough progress on this and need to step it up.
How do you take critiquing of your work? Have you gotten a particularly good or bad bit of criticism? Do you try to make every change suggested? How do you decide what will work for you?