by Terri Wagner
I thought I would carry over the theme of critiquing since I have found it to be a hot topic among writer support groups. I also do it for a living. As I commented on Joyce DiPastena's entry, I prefer brutal. I suspect it's because I've had it happen so many times over the years that I have developed an extremely thick skin. And I always retain my "right" not to use the "suggestions."
Even in my current non-work project, I have a partner who is quite brutal. We have rewritten our first scene four times already, and she continues to tell me what I'm doing wrong. Once, she rejected 5 rewrites brutally I might add and then regarded the sixth try as perfect. And in looking back at the piece, she's right. The 6th try was perfect.
The way our publication is set up like most of them anyone can come along and add something or delete something from your piece, even if you are bylined. In the beginning, I was hostile, hurt, offended and often contemplated revenge (but I'm happy to say never did indulge). But over the years, a strange thing happened, I became a much better writer. I stopped seeing the pieces as "my" words and starting seeing them as "communication" words. It made a huge difference.
If I don't communicate (whatever I'm writing), I've failed. No matter how great I think my words are.
I feel compelled to add a caveat to this: When it comes to grammar rules, no one seems to agree. Use your own discretion.