Go lie down Shann, you must be exhausted after all that sharing.
Only kidding, like Rachel and Lillian I really appreciate your sharing. It teaches us a lot.
I also had a very bad experience with leaving reviews and it took me very close to leaving FW. I received an email telling me that many people were going around saying that if they could survive a critique by Graham they could survive 'anything'. I was devasted on three fronts. First, there was no way any of my comments deserved such a bad reaction. Secondly I had followed the advice on leaving critiques to the letter, used the sandwhich model, made more positive comments than negative and highlighted that the constructive opinion was only my opinion not fact. And yet the official email I received, from a FW moderator, proceeded to tell me how to do what I had already done. And third, a continuing problem which we are now dealing with, thank You Father, is that the reason I joined FW in the first place was to receive critiques which helped me improve as a writer.
Here are some quick points to keep in mind that will protect us from this sort of reaction.
1. The entire site (FW) makes it clear that the reason for joining is to grow and to help others grow. If people join they MUST EXPECT critique or they will never grow. If they react to a good constructed critique then I boldly say, very frankly, that is their problem and we do not need to own it. Obviously this means we must show compassion and love, but we do not need to own their reaction.
2. Our motive is to help. As writers we should be able to make word choices which carry a soft message, and that will help, but we do not help to the best of our ability if we do not share something that can be improved. Only thanks are an appropriate response to that.
3. To be honest we need to keep in mind that level one entrants are more at risk of feeling rejected (the other levels have been around longer) so you guys who want to stick with levels one and two are making a dangerous choice.
I'm only partly kidding here, truth is that many who join and start at level one have joined because they already believe they have some sort of gift and are in for a surprise at how much help they really need. Go careful in level one. New members may take offence quicker and leave before they learn.
Lillian, I agree 100% we do not need 'more' guidelines, not at all. If you look at my comments you will see that I have not added a single thing. I simply summerized what all of the guidelines said. That being said, I feel we should all feel free to leave comments as we feel led and the only important point is the two to one ration of the sandwhich model, two positive for one negative comment.
Okay, this post is too long already. I'll go to Mike and Bea's corner and highlight this thread, asking them to comment and give approval. I'll invite Deb along too. I can't see this being a problem, but they are our leaders and we need to respect that. If we can get enough members involved we could also turn the Critque Circle around too.
I'm excited and want to "THANK YOU" for your courage and commitment to making this work.