The Seven Stages of Receiving Critique on a Manuscript

1. Shock & denial – Did they even read my brilliant manuscript? Or did they just vomit red ink all over it? I’m seriously doubting the collective mental capacity of  my critique group.

2. Pain & guilt – How could I have given them this drivel? No wonder they didn’t get it. It isn’t that they don’t know how to read…I just don’t know how to write.

3. Anger & bargaining – You know what? FINE. If my critique group obviously has such a problem with this stupid story, maybe I should just shelve it. It can join the other stupid manuscripts in their dusty old binders. And if I do that, the next one will be better. It has to be. It’s like, the Law of Writing.

4. Depression, reflection, & loneliness – Whyyyyyy? Why do I even write? This is the stupidest “passion” a person could have. It only brings me pain. Nobody can understand what I’m going through. Nobody. Nobody. Nobody.

5. The upward turn – Even I’m getting tired of my whining. The only person who’s going to fix the (obvious, gaping) plot holes in this story is ME. So I better just cowgirl up and do it.

6. Reconstruction & working through – So if I can revisit these comments without slitting my throat, maybe I’ll find the very useful suggestions my esteemed critique group gave me.

7. Acceptance & hope – They’re right. My critique group is right. It doesn’t make sense for X, Y, and Z to happen in light of the fact that my main character is obviously B. Crap. But I can fix it. This happens with every manuscript – I think it’s unfixable, and then, I work through it. I can do this, and I will, and it’s going to be smashing, baby. Smashing.

17 Responses to “The Seven Stages of Receiving Critique on a Manuscript”
  1. Dana says:

    Lol @ your Kleenex.

    You are a wonderful writer and bright and funny, and will go through your manuscript and make it EVEN BETTER. Instead of just being good, it will now be awesome.

    This is a fact.

  2. I think I’ve hit most of these stages in the past two weeks on my first draft! I didn’t even need my critique group to see it! Thanks for your insight. Putting away my “Tissues for Losers” now.

  3. Pat says:

    Dana is absolutely correct! And this was a very funny post to which I so related.

  4. Beth Hull says:

    Thanks ladies! This whole process is a big rollercoaster. Like the first draft isn’t hard enough, as Katy said.

  5. thegracefuldoe says:

    Love it, Beth! So very true. (And funny!)

  6. Maggie says:

    Nice list (and picture) and so true!

  7. OMG! This is too funny! How’d you get a pic of me while I’m writing like that? Because that’s exactly what I look like! ROFL

    I think that I’ve gone through ALL of those stages just last week! ROFL Glad that I’m not the ONLY one! Thank you for this!

  8. Randi says:

    Sounds like me as I am writing thank you notes! I love the braids!

  9. Beth Hull says:

    It’s so good to know #4 is not true – I am not alone, & lots of people understand. Thanks, everyone, for your comments!

  10. Vicki says:

    #3 is definitely my fave 🙂 and heck, if the writing thing doesn’t pan out your art skills are improving with every drawing!! But that won’t be necessary because you ARE a talented writer, red ink or not!

  11. Cheryl says:

    lol this list is too funny. and I know your manuscript WILL be smashing! 😉

  12. Seven says:

    You are one funny writer! That’s my Padner!

  13. darkocean says:

    lol! I’m finally on stage 7, yay Revising, and more revising. I have an online critique group that rocks, they have been hitting my manuscript hard. I’m thinking maybe theres something worth saving if they are bothering to put so much work into helping me with it. =D

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] The Seven Stages of Receiving Critique on a Manuscript […]

  2. […] Critique group: A group of writers who share work and provide feedback to one another. If your writer has found a strong critique group which encourages him yet is not afraid to tell the truth when his writing needs work, count yourself lucky. You won’t be listening to your writer kvetch. Instead, your writer will probably be hitting you up for free babysitting while he goes to a critique group meeting. Better than listening to complaining, though, right? Critique groups can also work together over the webternetz. For a post related to writerly angst and critique, see Beth’s post here. […]

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