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.