02 March 2013

Supercritical

A friend of mine today in writer's group made a comment that got me thinking (which is never a good thing, ask anyone), along the lines of the fact that I'm always critical of items that end up in front of my editing pen. Now, this friend happens to be a full-time writer, multi-published, with publishers that have distributed her books far and wide, and we've been friends a long time. She has also been a big fan of my books (and vice versa) ever since she first saw them, so I'm not so sure about her taste, but hey...

The author in question...I do love her books, so go give them a read.

The comment struck me today for some reason. I've given comments and critiques to folks for many years, and I'm no different (in my mind, at least) with her than I am with any author. I have this built-in need to do my best for anyone, because that's how I'm wired. Writers always see things in another author's work that the other author may never see (and I'm not immune to that issue). That leads me to always give every thought that comes into my head when commenting or critiquing to the fullest extent, when another author asks (and when I have time to do it). The way I figure, I'm trying to give another author a tool to use for the next time they're editing their own work, to help them improve.



I've noticed, too, that I tend to get odd reactions from my direct employees (where my job puts me in a place where I need to comment and critique on their work), in that they almost seem fearful of my critiques. My assumed duty is the same thing there. I'm not trying to be mean or supercritical, just to help them improve so that they'll have the tools they need for the next time they're doing the same work.

My guess? This is why the comment hit me today...that maybe my mindset has been off-kilter this entire time. Perhaps all of those who've received writing critiques view me in the same vein as my employees (presumably) do...that I'm mean and supercritical. Perhaps my perception of what the feedback should be is not the same as those who are looking for my feedback.

So, then the question is...is being supercritical an issue?

I'd love to hear your thoughts...because at the moment, I have a chapter from Nancy that needs a critique.