Plus pushing Tiamat's Nest through the queue on CC, critiquing, and being critiqued.
Oh, look! Back on topic!
In this mini-series on being critiqued, I've talked about the pain of hearing things you don't want to hear, some tips for recognizing comments worth paying attention to, and some cautionary tales about comments best set aside.
I want to wrap this theme up with some final thoughts.
When you put up a story for feedback in a good forum, the good news is that you'll get lots of impassioned feedback. The bad news is ... you'll get lots of impassioned feedback, and you'll have a hard time deciding what to do about it.
The hardest part of receiving critiques is developing your own judgment about what advice to accept, and what to set aside.
Regardless of all the tips and techniques for sorting the wheat from the chaff, there is one fact that you need to engrave in granite and hang on the wall above your writing space, tattoo on the back of your hand, and scribe on a large sheet of paper in mirror writing and staple to your forehead so you see it every time you gaze in the mirror wondering if it's really all worth it.
This is your manuscript,
and regardless of all the critiquing,
the end result is up to you.
Don't ever forget it.
Some folks will tell you that you have to kill adverbs, make the MC more likeable, cut the description, throw in a love interest, rewrite the whole chapter... You must, must, must follow their advice because otherwise your manuscript sucks and they know best because you asked them for your opinion, didn't you?
Yes, you asked them their opinion, and what they gave you is exactly that - their opinion. Not law. Not inviolable edicts that you are bound - on pain of testicular separation - to follow to the letter. They gave you an opinion, which it is up to you to decide what to do with.
That doesn't mean simply ignore any advice you don't like. After all, some comments will hurt like heck but may be just what your manuscript needs.
It means exercise judgment and discretion and make a choice.
Easy to say. So hard to do well.