02 March 2014

The Critique

(When I was asked to participate in a segment on criticism (literary/film) for the CBS Sunday Morning Show, my friend Luisa Adams, author of Woven of Water, sent me this poem she had written after receiving a particularly negative critique.)

The Critique
by Luisa Adams

Barbed wire
The artist's soul

Opinion's hoarfrost
The creative helix

Devouring egos
The tender skin

Critic's cord
The artist's soul

When does criticism cross the line between "the analysis and judgment of the merits and faults of a literary or artistic work" to "the expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes"? Writers often have difficulty separating self from their work.

When creating something out of nothing, which is what a writer does daily, constructive criticism can help grow brighter a writer's light. Negative criticism and voicing objection to something, only with the purpose of showing what is wrong and generally suggesting disapproval is often interpreted as a personal attack and usually serves to dim a writer's light (especially if the comments touch off a sensitive backstory wound and trigger self-loathing and the inner critic's crippling and negative self-talk).

I find writers benefit from a critique that is balanced between what is working and why and what isn't working and why.
For more: Read my Plot Whisperer and Blockbuster Plots books for writers.