Blogger: Rachel Kent
What do you do when one critique partner loves your book and the other just doesn’t get it? Or when two editors at different houses ask you to change different parts of your manuscript and you aren’t sure what changes to make?
If you are ever faced with conflicting critiques, here are a few suggestions for you:
1) Take a moment to pray for wisdom and an open mind. It’s hard to take feedback, and we’re all programed to only want to listen to the good reviews. Pray that God will give you discernment when looking at the critiques so your own feelings and opinions wont bias you.
2) Go back to the critique partners and ask questions to understand if the different critiques pinpoint the same problem. For example, if Critique Partner One said that your character was flat in a particular scene and Critique Partner Two said that your character wasn’t at all likeable, go back and ask Critique Partner One if he or she felt the problem extended beyond that scene. Then ask Critique Partner Two if that scene was a big part of the problem. This cross-referencing of your critiques will help you to glean more information and will help to you understand what they were telling you. It’s not always appropriate to go back to the editors to ask these questions. I recommend step 3 if you are in a confusing critique situation with editors.
3) Seek another opinion. If you’ve only had two people critique your manuscript, seek out a third opinion. If you have an agent, it would be great for the third opinion to be your agent’s. If you don’t have an agent or have already heard your agent’s opinion, be sure that your third “critiquer” is part of your intended audience and has the time to take a good look at your manuscript.
4) Don’t get caught up on minor issues. If one person loves that your character adores chocolate and the other was annoyed with the chocolate addiction, let those two opinions cancel each other out and move on to something that actually matters. However, if you hear from everyone that the minor issue is a problem, go ahead and change it.
5) Rate your critiquers’ opinions based on the level of experience each has and weigh the opinions in that order.
Have you ever been in this situation?
How many people do you usually have read your manuscript once you’ve finished?