Critics – gotta love ’em

DebE —  February 19, 2012 — Leave a comment

I was just reflecting on how lucky I am to have a critic. I’m talking about a friend of mine who isn’t afraid to say “That’s crap” when I shoot an idea her way. And, I think I’ve mentioned before, sometimes she is wrong. Especially because she’s not actually read any of my story, and her understanding of my characters is not quite the same as mine – although, we’re finding a parity.

What’s good about it – even if she is wrong – is that she forces me to look at what I’m doing and re-think it. Why do I think that my idea is the best way to write things? Why is that the best way for my characters to act in that situation? I still remember the time a reviewer told me one of my protags didn’t behave how she expected him to at one point – and the suggestion she made? It was BRILLIANT! And so, Jonas punches Llewella in the gut (Chapter 1, hardly a spoiler) That sounds bad … but, she had just stolen his very, very special knife … and, he thought she was a boy, at the time. It was somewhat deserved, and Jonas IS that kind of guy. How had I not seen that on my own?

I think I know how. I was too focussed on the future romance in the works (which may or may not happen … sometimes characters don’t work out the way you planned) – I just couldn’t imagine him doing something so mean to his future one-and-only. What I needed to do was to come back to the “here and now”. Forget the future. They can deal with the fact that he did that then. If it matters.

So, for someone who said they don’t dispense advice on their blog, I’m advising: get other opinions. Or, at least, let that idea/scene/reaction stew for a bit. And don’t be scared to ask what others think.

(As I have found myself ‘advising’ someone else recently, I will, in fact, be dishing a little advice over the next wee while – just in case it helps others. However, I recommend that people who like my advice go and look up further information from others – I am not the holy grail of writing know-how).




Deb E was born in New Zealand’s North Island, but her parents corrected that within months, moving south to Dunedin and staying there. Childhood nights were spent falling asleep to cover versions of Cliff Richard and the Shadows and other Rock ’n Roll classics played by her father’s band, and days were spent dancing to 45 LPs. Many of her first writing experiences were copying down song lyrics. She graduated to scientific reports when she studied a nematophagus fungus in the Zoology department of the University of Otago, trading all traces of popularity for usefulness… then traded both for fiction. Mum of one human & four fur-babies.

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