I’ve been doing a ton of critiques on the side for other children’s writers. It’s been a joy.
Most the time the book is made in revisions and it’s magic. However, there is the moment when it’s dark magic instead of the the happy sparkly kind.
Consider the critique the spell of enchantment cast in an effort to improve the story’s life force. It’s meant to be positive. However, positiveness is always a matter of perspective.
If you were to ask the Vain Queen in Snow White if her apple spell improved her apple she’d say yes, the apple is now far more than just an apple. However, Snow White’s acceptance and result from the apple is all negative in Snow’s eyes. It’s a matter of perspective.
So how do you take a critique and make it a positive experience instead of one that puts your writing dreams into a sleep of death?
Like any good spell-caster, you need to know a few things before you even ask for a critique:
- Know the story you WANT to tell. If you get feedback and it’s not resonating with readers it maybe you have fallen into a clarity issue. A spell with mispronounced words will not get you the result you want. Go back to your story and make sure what’s in your head and heart has made it to the page.
- Know the WAY you want to tell it. Your format, point of view, and perspective needs to reflect the story you want to tell. Your theme needs to be present in every aspect of your story. What ingredients does your spell need– wand, toad, tulip?
- Know WHY you want to tell this story. This digs deep into your theme, message, and audience. If you cast spells higgledy-piggledy don’t expect anything to stick.
If you’ve got your spell guide written out in your spell-casters book of the WANT, the WAY, and the WHY it will be much easier to find the nice sparkle magic inside a critique.
Don’t lose your story by being unsure of the spell you are hoping to cast.