One thing many fledgling writers are in denial about is getting honest feedback. If you’re a writer, don’t feel bad about this: it took me years to pluck up courage to show my writing to anyone at all, and even more years before I dared show it to a stranger who might say something negative about it. Writing comes from the heart. When we share our writing, we risk exposing our soul.
But if you want to get better, you need honest feedback. I certainly did. In fact, I still do, and I get it via the two semi-pro critiquing groups I participate in. Having managed, early on, to differentiate negative comments about a story from personal insults (and if you find yourself in a crit group which employs personal insults, get out) I soon learnt to listen to the advice given with the same impartiality with which it was offered. Often as not, I took it.
This kind of face-to-face critiquing is the best – because when they look you in the eye and tell you how they hated your story, it’s not the end of a friendship, it’s the start of a useful discussion – but not every writer is lucky enough to find a suitable group. For those who aren’t, there are online groups.
There are also professional organisations which offer this service, for a fee *self promotion warning* and I am lucky enough to have been recently taken by one such organisation, Cornerstones. I’m the newest addition to their stable of editors (Cornerstones use the general term ‘editor’ because they provide more than just critiquing). So, if you want your work critted by yours truly, this service is now available, on Cornerstones’ lovely new website.