Friday, October 24

Question Friday

Hi, all! Nan here! It's Friday and that means it's time for our new meme here at WordWranglers. It's Question Friday! I’m the questioner this week, so here we go. 

What’s the toughest criticism you’ve received as a writer? And the best compliment?

Margie’s Answer: I guess the toughest criticism has come just lately. I had three fulls out of my eighth rewrite of Bix and every one of the agents said that at times it read YA and other times MG. Death note. Why didn't someone tell me this six rewrites ago??? So, now I have to decide if I want to try and fix it—in which case, do I go up or down?? I'm kind of leaning toward going MG and cutting a bunch. But man, it's tough. Kristi and Liz know how long I've been working on this and this news was particularly heartbreaking.

My favorite compliment is when someone reads what I wrote and says, "I forgot that you wrote this." Because for me, it seems as if they got sucked into the story that they forgot they were reading it as a favor to me.

Liz’s Answer: My greatest criticism has been that my writing is old fashioned. It's come from more than one source and I'm sure it's true know...I'm old fashioned. The first time it was said--in a review--I was offended. Since then, I guess it's just okay with me. I don't know what makes it that way, but just as I would look ridiculous dressing like a 17-year-old, I think I'd probably sound ridiculous trying to write like a 25-year-old.

Best compliment? A reviewer on Goodreads (not my finest venue!) said, “This book had to be one of the most 'healing' books in my life” about One More Summer. I have never felt more honored.

Kristie’s Answer: Good question, Nan! Hmmm...Criticism is hard, no matter where it comes from. I get revision notes and suggestions all the time from my editor and agent as well as my critique partners. I can't remember who said this to me and I think it may even have been more than one person, but early in my career (this would be before I was published) someone told me that they couldn't 'see' my characters even though they knew what the characters looked like. I realized that I was so busy getting from Point A to Point B that I wasn't developing the characters in my story enough. I've really tried to focus on character development ever since - note just the physical, but their emotional development, too.

As for compliments...My very first editor, Jennifer Lawler with Crimson Romance, wrote in a comment bubble that my dialogue made her laugh out loud. I love dialogue, and I work at it, but that particular scene just kind of flowed. I thought maybe I'd gone too far with it, so it was great to learn that she was responding to the characters and dialogue. 

Nan’s Answer: My greatest criticism came from my editor, the amazing Lani Diane Rich. She read the first iteration of Sex and the Widow Miles and her first reaction was, “Your hero’s an asshole.” I was kind of shocked because I thought I’d written a guy who was cute and fun and charming, but interestingly, the day I sent her the manuscript, I’d reread it, and the thought occurred to me that he seemed a little pervy. Apparently, it was my better writer nudging me because that’s exactly how he came across to her. So I not only rewrote him, I even changed his name. ;-)

My best compliment also came from Lani. After several times of rewriting the opening scene to Once More From the Top, I finally received this comment: “Love it. This opening is damn near perfect.” My heart sang!

So talk to us, fellow writers? What are the worst and best criticisms you've ever gotten on your writing?


  1. isn't it funny how the criticisms can stick with us longer than the compliments? At least, that's the way it works for me!

  2. I think the toughest criticism I got was that I wasn't digging deep enough into the emotions of my characters. It was also the most helpful, because even I could see the difference when I started doing that. I've been told that my dialogue is good, so that makes me puff out my chest. ; )

    1. Your dialogue IS good, so puff away. Thanks for coming over, Roben.

  3. I'll have to think about the toughest criticism, but the best compliment came from my TWRP editor, Lori Graham, after she read my character interview for Donovan. She said, "I know I may be her editor but I loved Hurricane Crimes and really enjoyed the journey." On top of that the host of the blog said my character interview was the best she read in a long time. :D