Imagine you've just given birth. It's the happiest day of your life, and you are the proud mama or papa of a beautiful new baby. Now imagine, an associate comes to see you, flowers in hand, and full of anticipation to see your new bundle of joy.
As he zooms in on your precious package, he stiffens, throws down the flowers and says, "Oh... my... word, that's got to be the ugliest baby I've ever seen."
Horrifying experience? I should say. And that's exactly what a writer risks every time he sends his work out for critique. The chance that one of his critique partners might say..."Excuse me, your baby is ugly."
For writers, there is nothing more personal than their manuscript, and the words they put down on the pages are indeed their "babies." I am blessed to have critique partners who on occasion have insulted my baby. But, it's getting better. The more I write my baby goes from grossly deformed to an occasional bout of diaper rash. I'm also fortunate to have critique partners who leave their egos at the door and say, "This is working," and vice versa.
I've heard some writers say they've left critique groups and they prefer to write alone. While others claim they can't write a book without them. So, what about you? What do you think of critique groups? What works for you and what doesn't? And has anyone ever insulted your baby and lived to tell about it? I'd love to hear your stories.