The Critiquee’s Charter
1. As the person submitting my work for critique, I understand that people have taken time away from doing other things to provide me with feedback, something which will undoubtedly help me more than it will them. Though I may feel upset by their comments, and may not agree with their observations, or decide not to implement the changes they recommend, I will keep that to myself. I will remember that I am grateful, and take the time to thank them for their input.
2. I recognize that not everyone has the same critique style. Therefore, unless we’ve agreed on a specific method beforehand, I will accept feedback in whatever form the critiquer cares to provide it.
3. I want people’s honest opinions. If they give them in a way that upsets me, I will recognize that one person’s ‘rude git’ is another person’s ‘straight-talker’, and re-read item #1 until I feel better.
4. If all I want is applause and a pat on the back for a job well done, I will not waste my critiquers’ time asking for feedback. If I do, I understand that it serves me jolly well right if I don’t get the glowing praise I expected.
5. If I think the critiquer just didn’t ‘get it’, I will re-read #1 until the urge to say so has passed.
6. If I think the critiquer doesn’t know what he/she is talking about, I will re-read #1 until the urge to say so has passed.
7. If I want to disagree with a critique, I will re-read #1 until the urge to do so has passed.
8. If several people make similar observations, I will at least consider the possibility that, despite my undoubted genius, I may have missed something important.
9. If someone gives me a harsh critique, I promise to remember that I am (in years at least) a grown-up, and will resist any temptation to ‘repay’ them when I review their work.
10. I understand that some people actually set out to critique in a spiteful, hurtful, manner. They like to show off at the expense of others, and have little or no interest in helping anyone improve their work. On those rare occasions when I come across such a person, I will remind myself that idiots like this are the exception rather than the rule. I will learn to recognize and ignore him/her, and remember that (as a certain old gran used to say), ‘It’s better to be upset by people like that, than to be people like that.’
11. At all times, I will try to remember that critiques are just opinions, which, like spouses and children can be embraced or ignored however one sees fit.
I left #12 blank. What would you put in there?
What do you look for in a writing group?
What would put you off from joining/staying with a writing group