There’s this weird thing that happens in creative circles. Critique is always desired, but not everyone can handle it. And when somebody gets their feelings hurt, the critique person feels bad.
I’ve been in an active critique group for over a year now. Between them and my crit partner, I’ve had my stories torn apart and rebuilt in much better ways. I’ve learned pitfalls to look for and how to critique other people’s work. (Tip #1: Always temper with praise!)
But occasionally someone will join the group who can’t take the heat. There’s been people who dropped in massive slabs of stories and never critiqued anything in return. I slaved over crits on their stories–and the person vanished, never to be seen again.
It always makes me guilty and second guess myself. I mixed in praise with the critique, right? All I nitpicked was stuff from various self editing books, like passive voice, repetition and adverbs. Or massive backstory dumps that bog the story down.
Bam. The writer is gone.
How do you handle this, in your creative circle? Can you take it when somebody says, “Hey, this is good, but it could be better and here’s how”?.