We recently entered a short story into the monthly Writers Forum competition. For an extra fiver, you can request personal feedback and so, being keen to learn, we did.
The feedback arrived. An A4 (electronic) sheet with some suggestions. They liked the title, thought the presentation could do with work, didn’t feel the opening was especially compelling or that one of the characters was fleshed out enough. Also, the dialogue drove the story forward but could do more to aid the characterisation. The conclusion was “Needs some work but has potential”
I read it and was impressed that someone really had taken the time to read and comment on the piece. I didn’t expect to win any prizes at our first attempt but you have to start somewhere and for a fiver, it was well worth it. I fancy re-working the piece and then putting it out there again. The comments seemed fair to me as we are aiming high, and not pointlessly harsh. We might think it’s a wonderful story but you can’t expect everyone to see this until you are mega famous at which point they don’t wish to look stupid by pointing out the emperor has no clothes.
My friend on the other hand, took it less well – “I read that straight away, thus putting a damper on an afternoon when they didn’t tell me we were the next JK Rowling. If I hadn’t jumped to that email there and there I might not have ruined my afternoon!”
How can we be that different ? Am I too laid back ? Is Candice too thin-skinned ?
I’m not ignoring the comments – far from it – but I don’t take them personally. We aren’t JK Rowling yet (It could have been worse, imagine if the comment had been “You are the next E. L. James“, that would have caused a fuss !). No, feedback part of the learning journey. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger etc. etc.
But, there is a problem. It can’t be denied that Nolan is a far more succesful high-flyer than I am. Maybe I am too laid back ? Maybe I should take criticism to heart. Perhaps if I was wracked with distress it would fire me up to do better, or would it make me want to give up entirely ?