Please go to this wonderful post by Beth Hull and read—especially if you are a certain literary agent. Or any literary agent or critiquing-type who believes they are so busy and important it’s perfectly fine to be brusque and quippish instead of constructive. I’m busy, too. And extremely important around here. I work hard, too—whenever I can, even when driving home from visiting a terminally ill dad—which is another thing Abrupt Critiquer types should be aware of—that perhaps their victims are experiencing upsetting circumstances, so THINKING TWICE OR MORE before hitting the Send button is very smart, vs. delivering impatient remarks that only madden the already exasperated (cue cuckoo). A pinch of graciousness when critiquing, no matter how irked you are by whatever it is you’re reading, garners gratitude and respect (gratitude and respect are GOOD—Google them, you’ll see it’s true—G and R help the world rotate). And, Crusty Critiquers, remember: studies show that victims absolutely will not send you their novels again, despite your passive-aggressive invitations to once the quipped suggestions have been incorporated into the
novels passionate works of art—not even if you are The President Of All Literary Agents, or Universally Popular And Obviously Exceedingly Clever Not To Mention Massively Experienced. Writers understand about killing darlings. We get it. We’ll do it! We’ll slaughter away. But if you prick us: we bleeeeeeeeed.
Oh, look: the sun is shining. It’s a beautiful day.
As I was saying, Beth is wonderfully wise and if she ever decides to become a professional Critter (in addition to Novelist, that is), she will be hugely successful. She will have a waiting list 10 years long. I highly recommend her post. It’s never too late to grow (up).
Yours in rants and a date with the yoga mat,
P the heck B