Wednesday, September 16, 2009

They’re Just Jealous of My Awesomeness

My participation in the Secret Agent contest over on Miss Snark’s First Victim last week was an educational experience to say the least. I think people are much more capable of giving truly honest feedback when they’re not emotionally invested in the person whose work they’re critiquing. I’m not saying we all don’t do our best to give honest critiques, but when the critiquee is a stranger, it’s much easier to say it without the sugar coating.

The comments on mine were generally not too bad, and they were very helpful in getting me a little closer to where I need to be on my opening. The Secret Agent’s comment, “I would not keep reading.” was like a punch in the gut, but I’m okay with it—it wasn’t quite there yet, and, obviously, not everyone is going to like my stuff. I’ve moved on. Really, I have. Totally over it.

The whole experience got me thinking about the rollercoaster of emotions involved in having other people critique your work. It reminded me of the seven stages of grief, and I thought this model was perfect for describing what a writer goes through. I might have taken a little creative license and changed things up a bit, but the basic idea is the same. And my examples might be just a tad more melodramatic than real life, but who doesn’t enjoy a little drama? If you don’t, you’re reading the wrong blog.

So, without further ado, I give you…


What?! But… but I’m AWESOME!!! How could they say such horrible things?

They’re wrong. It’s perfect the way it is. There’s nothing they can say that will make me believe it needs to be changed. I write beautiful words. Exquisite words!

How dare they?! How. Dare. They! Pssssh! They’re just jealous they can’t be as awesome as I am. Pathetic. *flips hair and rolls eyes* Just pathetic.

Wait. That comment kind of makes sense. And that one. Why didn’t I see that? It’s so obvious!! Oh, this is so humiliating. Now EVERYONE knows what a horrible writer I am. How will I ever show my face on the blogosphere again? I’m going to hide under my desk.

I suck! Big time. Nothing I write will ever be good enough. I should just give up now and save myself any more humiliation. Miss H.H. Writerlady is so much better than me, and she always leaves such encouraging comments about the contest entries. Why can’t I write like her? I’ll never get an agent. I’ll never get published. I’m just going to stay under my desk and listen to Evanescence’s My Immortal over and over on my iPod. Please just leave me alone and let me wallow in peace. Sniff. Don’t judge me. You have no idea how hard it is to be a writer! WAAAH!

Sniff. I really can’t live under here forever. I’m starting to get hungry. I need chocolate. And Dr. Pepper. I guess I can sit in the chair. It’s more comfortable than the floor. *wiggles the mouse* Hmm. Maybe this isn’t all crap. Maybe I don’t totally suck. Sniff.

I guess if I moved this section and tweaked that, it would all flow better. And that is kind of confusing, but I can fix that. No problem. Sorry, beloved scene. Looks like we’re all better without you. Don’t cry. I’ll miss you too. *wipes a tear* Huh. Wow. This is so much better than it was before. Thank you, critters! Without you, my work never could have been this great! I am a good writer. I will get an agent. I will get published. Because I’m AWESOME!! Of course. ;D


  1. Love this post! I'm going to send people over to read it. Thanks.

    Lynnette Labelle

  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS!!!! It is so true of how I act when I get critiques. Although, I add another step: the Pathetic Fix. That's where I tack on a paragraph or cut out a sentence and think it's now "fixed." UGH.

  3. Incredible post, Abby. You totally nailed the experience, and did it with wit. If there is a writer out there who hasn't gone through this, I haven't met them.

  4. i'll keep this for when i submit my first piece to WN's. :)

  5. Lynnette: Cool! Thank you!

    Beth: Thanks! I think I've done that too. :)

    Tricia: I'm glad I'm not the only one who does this. We can all be crazy together. ;)

    Michelle: I'll attach it to my crit. ;D

    Tere: Thanks!

  6. hehehehehehe...must.stop.laughing.

    Good for you for having the guts to put your work out there. That is an important step in our path. I entered that contest (twice actually, before the site got so busy and she put restrictions on). The first time the agent said, "not great writing". Funny thing is, within three months I signed w/ my agent and his exact words were, "very nice writing,Tess."

    see? it's all subjective. The agent through MSFV was not a good fit for me anyway - sure, she asked for MG, but her work is mostly more commercial and my writing has a more literary feel. Just an interesting experience and something to keep in mind when you get feedback.

  7. AHAHAHA! It's SO. TRUE.

    I love the perspective :). It's too funny to hear that everyone goes through the same thing. We're not nuts after all! Or maybe we are, but at least we're among friends ;).

    Great post, and very uplifting!

  8. This is like truth from the Writing Bible.

  9. This is great. I've so been at each one of these.

  10. I've been through these steps one too many times. It really is a roller coaster! Necessary, but sometimes it just sucks.

    Great post!

  11. Oh, and my husband would approve of you. He loves Evanescence and Dr. Pepper. Great combo. Hehe!

  12. Abby, I know this sounds cliche, but you hit the nail on the head! Yes, I've been through each & every one of these emotions. When I first started with critiques 3 years ago I'd go thru numbers 1-5 over & over again. Now I'm comfortable (well, usually) at 6 & 7.

    Thanks for this post, Abby! :)

    P.S. I entered that Secret Agent contest too (around Feb or March) and those unbiased crits, while at first hard to hear, proved to be really helpful in my revisions later on.

  13. Ha! Love that. True though, you kinda do move through those stages when you get back hard to swallow comments :)

  14. Sometimes I forget how much writers have in common! You’ve done a terrific job at describing the emotions. I’ve ‘been there, done that’ on each and every one…well, maybe I’d substitute a glass of wine for the Dr. Pepper

  15. This really is a wonderful post. Describes ALL the emotions I experience when getting critiqued.

  16. I love how you tied in the seven stages of grief to your critique experience. I am sure that someday you will have an agent tell you they can't live without your work. Good luck!


    Totally worth the awesome jump in stats for the day Abby!

  18. Tess: Thanks! It was definitely a good experience. I actually learned a little more about myself that day. :)

    Becca: I love having writer friends that are crazy like me. Keeps things interesting. :D

    Elana: Thanks!

    FictionGroupie:Thanks for stopping by and following!

    LG: Thanks! Evanescence and DP are my recipe for a good writing session. ;)

    Crystal: It's definitely a learning and growing process. And brutal as it may have seemed at the time, I did gain a lot from my experience on MSFV. Thanks for following!

    Tabitha: Thanks!

    Jane: Glad you stopped by! Thanks for following!

    MC: Thanks!

    Anna: What a nice thing to say! Thank you!

    Ali: Thanks!