In December I asked a friend of mine to critique my book, The Eye of Tanub. I got it back from her and let me just say, I LOVE her suggestions. I was amazed and very surprised when she told me she was worried that I'd be mad because she was very straight forward and blunt in many places. She was no different and definitely not as critical as the editor I worked with for the past year.
My point here is that she had tons of wonderful suggestions. Things that I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of already or noticed before. We normally can't see our own mistakes as easily as others can. I've used at least 95% of her suggestions. She's a natural born editor and should be doing it professionally.
When you hand your baby over to someone else and ask for a critique, do you really want one? So often people say, "Yes, give it to me straight. Help me make my book better." But they don't really mean it. Some people get upset and feel angry that you've made so many marks, corrections and comments. They feel criticized and hurt and often times, stupid. This is just their insecurity shining through and it's too bad, because they are missing out on a great learning experience.
One thing I really loved about Elizabeth's critique was that she comments on all the things she does like. Smiley faces and 'I love this!' are posted all over. That makes the other corrections not seem so harsh. It's normal to feel a bit insecure and yes, I want to shout to the world, "I do know the difference between its and it's, although I'm sure no one thinks so! It's just a habit to stick that apostrophe in there. And yes, I do use too many exclamation points and thank you for telling me which to cut out. Thank you for telling me I use the word 'watch' too much, because you know, if you noticed it, so will others."
I love seeing my book come to life. It will be fantastic because of the great advice of my critique group and good friends who TELL THE TRUTH. I'm so glad I'm not publishing it yet!
Don't be afraid to hear the truth, my friends, because I promise, you're book will be SO much better for it. Now get out there and get critiqued!