Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Nancy Connally’s Critique Case Study Day 3: New Insights Dawn

Here are some learnings that come from the conclusion of Nancy Connally's Critiquing Case Study:

For those giving feedback:
1) Critique the story, not the person.
2) Critique the story on the page that person is writing, not the story in your head that you want written.

For those receiving feedback:

3) Have the intestinal fortitude to tell the story you have to tell.
4) Believe the good stuff when people tell you.

Read on! --JGR


Nancy Connally, Guest Blogger

Two days later, I received a critique of a different piece of writing. This story is a short contemporary. The critique said the story had sparkling dialogue, great voice, good plot and pacing, wonderful description and setting, and the praise went on from there. My reaction? The encouragement was gratifying and certainly helped me feel better. But the PWC was just being nice.

About an hour later, I came to the realization that while the critiques were for two different works they had one thing in common . . . the same person wrote both those stories.

Further enlightenment burst on me. The positive PWC had never once used the word “you” in the critique. The negative PWC had used the word “you” constantly. One had critiqued the story; the other had mainly critiqued me.

I re-read the negative critique, and heard something I hadn’t heard before. The PWC was trying to take my story and turn it into something it was never intended to be. The more I read, the more I realized the underlying message was, “You’re a terrible writer because this isn’t the book I want it to be.” Well, of course it isn’t. It is my story. Let the PWC write her/his own story.

By golly, I have a story to tell and I’m going to tell it
— with a little more conflict.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tagged as: ,

2 Responses »

  1. Nancy, I admire your gumption in resolving to tell the story you have to tell. Only through sorting out the issues raised in critique can you allow critique to help you and your writing rather than hurting and holding back. I congratulate you on this key insight.

  2. Thanks, Steffie. It was hard-won insight 🙂

Leave a Response