Speaking of Metaxucafe.com, author Joe Clifford Faust writes about criticism of his current playwright project. IN short, hard criticism is good.
I have even been asked to speak in classes specifically about the need to edit one’s own writing simply because the participants thought that one draft was all that was needed and that their work was perfect, say Amen and close the door.
But it’s not. It’s the very nature of our closeness to a work that we sometimes get blinded to its faults. . . . Besides, if you’re serious about writing, you understand that your work is going to come under scrutiny at some time or another. Better that you give it your own beforehand. There’s no guarantee you won’t get an unflattering review, but how much worse will it be if you realize that it addresses dumb, stupid things you did in your draft that you would have fixed had you only known about them? Besides, if the mistakes are that dumb and stupid, they will likely prevent your work from getting into print in the first place. . . .
Author David Brin has an approach to using outside readers that I think should be a model for how we all approach criticism. He recruits readers to look at his work – and if they don’t have any criticism of the manuscript at all, he does not use them again.