Friday, July 2, 2010

Accepting Criticism

This past month I have been unsuccessfully trying to advise a Beginning Novelist. She is searching for someone who will read her completed novel and give opinions about the plot development and inherent appeal. Several people have read the first chapter and discovered she is not at all at a point where that sort of assessment is needed. Obvious from the first 30 pages, her writing is filled with inconsistencies, lack of transitions, confusing descriptions, inaccurate word choices and out-of-character dialogue. I, and other writers, have communicated to her that she needs to solve many basic problems before she worries about finding someone to assess her novel overall.

Our Beginning Novelist's reaction is that she will solve these "minor" problems later on, and those who have pointed out the places in her first chapter that need work need to learn how to give proper feedback. She continued to challenge our writers' network regarding someone to read the whole novel.

We finally found a fellow writer who volunteered to read the whole book and we put Beginning Novelist in touch with her. BN asked this Volunteer Reader for her qualifications, editing experience, and publishing history before things went any farther. Volunteer Reader abandoned all interest in the project.

Beginning Novelist is being as foolish as many beginning writers can be. She's very aggressive for what she thinks she needs. It is hoped that someday she will wake up, smell the coffee and become just as aggressive for improvement.


  1. Two comments come to mind about BN:
    1. From Andrew Loyd Webber's Phantom.
    Close your eyes for your eyes will only tell
    the truth
    and the truth isn't what you want to see.
    In the dark it is easy to pretend
    that the truth is what it ought to be.

    2. There are none so blind
    as thous who will not hear.

  2. Yeah, absolutely right. I guess we all have a bit of that blindness, but there are none so blind as cocky beginning writers. The only seriously valuable comments are the critical ones. Compliments do not open one's eyes.