I give you yesterday's post, but how a pirate would say it. See below for the landlubbers version.
'Tis truly better t' give than receive when 't comes t' critique. I b'lieve we learn as much or more through th' time we spend wi' others' work than from th' critiques we receive. But th' tide will come when ye must stick yer pages ou' in th' sunlight, which betray ever' pore an' wrinkle an' scar. An' 'tis hard nay t' take 't swabbieally.Ye must, as a writer (an' as a swabbie, too, but that's another post fer another tide) accept yer failings. Fact be, much o' what ye an' I write be utter bilge water. I be a proponent o' th' Cargo holds o' Word Theory. This theory states that 't takes a cargo holds o' words t' e'en begin t' touch what ye mean t' say wi' any consistent marketable competence.This jus' means writin' takes practice, like everythin' else. An' that practice--writin' words ye love as well as writin' stuff ye hate--gives ye th' ammunition t' distance yersef from yer writin'. Ye be nay th' sum total o' yer ability t' express yersef through fiction. Th' sooner ye learn that, th' sooner ye'll open yersef t' improvement, t' submission, t' rejection, an' t' forgin' ereonward into publication.On accoun' o', whether 't sucks or 'tis brilliant, whether inspiration carried ye on a tide-long high or ever' word splashed on th' page accompanied by tear o' insecurity, at th' end o' th' tide, yer story be a product. As a writer myself, I know how much blood stains th' pages in me slush. But me primary job as an editor be t' go shoppin'. ('tis a really freakin' great job; jus' wish 't paid better.) In fact, I be an editor who's shoppin' fer six stories ou' o' three hundred. I buy .o2% o' me slush. 'tis like goin' into Nordstrom an' buyin' only one pair o' shoes. (As if!) An' th' odds be probably better at me magazine than at many others.This reality be much easier t' take if yer story has already been chewed up an' spit ou' in critique.But sometimes, someone (a fool editor or that jerk critiquer) keeps sayin' th' same lily livered thin' o'er an' over...they jus' dasn't get 't. They dasn't get ye. Keep 't in perspective. First o' all, as we learned in kindergarten, we all won't be best shipmates. 't helps t' think o' critique as a professional endevour, e'en when yer critter be readin' yer passage aloud wi' different voices fer each character an' a Vaderesque narrator. Secondly, reckon 'tis jus' th' opinion o' one swabbie. I know I spake that last high tide', but today 'tis th' other guy's opinion we're talkin' about.An', hell, maybe ye actually agree wi' what they's saying--or nay, or whatere; but them crackers be stale. Same bilge water, different critique. 't can go on fer voyages.Mine be pronouns. Th' squadron railed on me o'er pronouns. An' so I work at 't an' finally, that particular nit drops off th' map. An' then we get a new member comin' t' squadron an' she says, "Ye know, Sex, I love yer stuff, but why do ye use yer characters' names so much?"So think these situations through carefully. Be the'r thinkin' flawed? Do they be havin' a stylistic difference? Maybe they be havin' an inability t' express what they mean.Or maybe ye're stubborn.Whaterethe issue, dasn't justify, explain, or defend. Thar's nay need. YE BE TH' MASTER O' YER DOMAIN. This be yer story. Ye be th' final decision maker. An' before ye ask, aye, we've asked fer edits at th' magazine fer stories we wanted t' buy an' had writers decline. Me point? Ye may be sittin' all alone in yer darkened study wi' jus' th' glow o' yer laptop t' keep ye company, but this be yer story an' nay one can make ye change 't.How t' decide, tho, what's worthy?Consider th' source. Be this an editor who wants t' buy yer story? A top agent who wants revisons before signin' ye? Consider the'r advice carefully, o' course. Nay jus' on accoun' o' they be havin' power t' put real treasure on th' table, but on accoun' o' 'tis the'r job t' know industry trends an' standards. When I be a kid, headhoppin' be all th' rage. Now rigid adherence t' close third an' first apply. Professionals make 't the'r business t' know what will sell an' judge yer work accordingly. Th' crutch: try 't e'en if ye disagree. They know. They won't last in this business unless they do.Gut instinct. Ye know 'ere ye're headed. If th' critter wonders why Gandalf appears at th' start an' mentions some fool rin' ou' o' th' blue, an' ye know 'tis cuz by chapter four all hell's gonna break loose wi' Ringwraithes, then sit tight wi' a Mona Lisa smile. Kill yer darlings only t' a point. If thar be a line o' dialogue or a passage that makes yer writerly mojo sing, then dasn't kill 't starboard off. Think about what that passage be tellin' ye about yer characters an' yer story. If yer critters dasn't be seein' th' importance, then maybe ye need t' pump 't up rather than cut 't.But then, when feelin' particularly defensive about particular advice, put 't aside an' eyeball 't again later. Scallywaggin' if I dasn't often find they be starboard. (Sons of a biscuit eater, ever' one!) An' majority rules: if two o' three critters want a change, consider 't very carefully. Some o' this trust comes from good rapport, tho. I hate when th' critiqued interrupts me (cuz I'all love th' sound o' me own voice, dasn't y'all?). BUT, I love when they ask me (when I be finished talking): Here's what I be tryin' t' do; any ideas? So, t' me, th' opportunity t' discuss 'ere ye're headed wi' a piece be invaluable.Basically, tho, 'tis nay yer turn t' talk. Sit quietly, hands clenched (among other things) an' listen. Listen listen listen. Ask questions only after th' torture session be o'er an' be sure t' say thank ye. Finally, trust yer critters. They want t' help ye. Take 't fer granted that they like ye, that they want t' revel in yer success,an' bask in th' glow o' yer prose an' themes an' plots. On accoun' o', really, most writers love doin' critiques. I dasn't submit t' Critters, but I crit fer them. 'tis been a voyage, maybe, since I submitted t' Crapometer. But I read 't an' crit thar, too. Most writers I know owe me critique time on accoun' o', as I spake, 'tis truly better t' give than recieve critique.Next high tide': bilge water terminology ye ortin' ta know, th' editor's perspective, an' maybe e'en a wee handy reference guides.