Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Instructive Criticism

Pulling this from The 46 Rules of Genius by Marty Neumeier. It's subtitled 'an innovator's guide to creativity' but it's got several useful items for those who are already creative and maybe haven't explored or just don't know why they do what they do or even how.

Anyway, we're all familiar with constructive criticism and likely even ask for it. I like the definitions Neumeier uses. This is from page 102 of the book:

The best cure for logic blindness is to seek regular feedback from people who can critique your ideas instructively rather than constructively. It's your job to be constructive - you're the maker. What you need from them is a clear view from the outside. Ideal critics are those will:
  1. Listen to your idea, ask questions, and not react too quickly.
  1. Strive to judge your idea against your specific intent.
  1. Summarize your idea in a way that seems fair and even insightful.
  1. Identify any aspects of your idea that they agree with or appreciate.
  1. Finally, identify aspects they they question or find lacking. 
In the real world, however, the feedback you get may be reactive, subjective, negative, or less than insightful. 


So what I'm doing going forward is to make my queries much more clear about my idea and my intent. That means that I have to actually know what my idea IS when I go into the story. Then I must execute the story with a kind of precision that shows I know what I'm doing. I suspect that will generate responses from agents/editors/others who will tell me what they like and ask questions. 

I don't think it's a foolproof way to get published but maybe it is. Certainly when I have folks beta read things now I'm going to be better about making sure they know what I'm going for to look for that in my stories. The rest is craft that I can only improve through repetition and practice.

Back to writing.