Always quirky, sometimes sweet speculative fiction

My Response To Criticism

spot the maniacSo, I’m a weirdo.

What’s led me to this realisation this time (I realise this fact anew on a regular basis) is my reaction to my critique group’s feedback yesterday.

When I submitted ‘Groundskeeper’ last year it was well received and one person (whom I quite admire as a writer) told me with a little bit of tidying I would probably be able to get a magazine to publish it. I was chuffed, but didn’t action the changes for a few months.

Yesterday I had another piece reviewed. This story was also generally well received, but this time with some stronger criticism. The feedback was constructive, coming with examples and is something I could action not just in this individual piece but across my writing as a whole to improve my quality. I came racing home, eager to work not just on that piece but on other projects too and see what I could do with this feedback.

In summary – one piece got told it was great, didn’t need much work, took forever to get around to it. Another piece received more criticism and I rushed home, excited, unable to wait to get to work.

I’m a weirdo.

But maybe the sort of weirdo an editor would enjoy working with ;p


  1. Belinda

    The first time I submitted, I was nervous as all get out. While I was sitting there, I was given the advice that, the worst critique session you can ever get is, ‘I love it, it’s great, don’t change a thing’… because there is ALWAYS something that needs tweaking in all honesty. So the in depth and, for the non initiated, ‘cruel’ critiques are the best ones because it gives you a starting point.
    Belinda recently posted..New Year, New Opportunities.My Profile

    • Kirstie

      That’s good advice. A part of you feels defensive, because it’s your work – you sweated and slaved over that piece for X hours, it’s a part of you – but there’s always room for improvement. I’ve heard published authors bemoan old works and how they wish they could improve them too, so even being published isn’t the sign of perfection.

  2. Faith

    It makes sense to me 🙂 If you are really focusing on trying to improve, getting some direction can be such a relief! At least, to me. I can be quite the sensitive little flower so people who know me well (like my husband) assume I’ll take it badly, but there was a point when I was incredibly frustrated with a story and unable to figure out what was wrong (I just knew SOMETHING was) and the relief when he looked at it and told me his thoughts was so great that I cried a little. Getting a new set of eyes is a great thing!

    So… yay for critiques! And for working on stories 🙂
    Faith recently posted..Follow Your Dreams, FishMy Profile

    • Kirstie

      You’re so right, Faith. I had the exact same feeling about one of my novels and I was bashing my head over it, the critique for the short story gave me some insight as to the problem with the novel too.

  3. Kath Lockett

    You’re not weird, but you certainly have a terrific attitude; one that I envy. I’m still way too terrified to ask for any critiques!
    Kath Lockett recently posted..Pants. Seat ofMy Profile

    • Kirstie

      I was terrified the first time I went, and I’d already attended the group once in advance to make sure they weren’t rabid wolves. I knew I needed to improve though and couldn’t let an opportunity go by.

  4. Talitha Kalago

    The feedback had the same effect on me actually. You know I want to get my sci fi ready for next month and I went home and spent a few hours poking it with a stick.

    I was thinking: ‘I can’t go next month and get the same feedback everyone got in Feburary. If there is any telling, I am going to be drawn and quartered.’

    I actually think the examples helped though? Not just a ‘do this’, but ‘here’s some I prepared earlier’.

    • Kirstie

      Your examples helped HEAPS. I always had the gist of ‘show don’t tell’ but it makes so much more sense now. Hopefully next month you’ll see the improvement in my work 😀

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