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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Critique/Review (for writers) (05/06/10)

TITLE: Number Six
By Donna Emery


Dear Mr. O’Pinion,

Well, thanks a lot.

I put my heart and soul into this story and your critique was my last straw.

You couldn’t see the months of effort; the hours of thought and prayer and the thousands of things I neglected to get this story written. When I posted my story on the Christian writers’ website, I knew I’d be getting comments.

I just didn’t think so many of them would be negative.

All one person could see is a “predictable storyline with a humdrum plot and lackluster characters.” Another one wrote they’d read many similar stories recently; my story wasn’t “original enough.” You found fault with my “sequencing and continuity.” Your comment was the shortest, but it was the sixth one to find some fault with my story.

My story may not seem original, but it’s true. I wrote about my grandmother’s life; how she followed the Lord’s leading into missionary work and how she faced the challenges of the mission field. My friends found her story fascinating. They all encouraged me to write and submit it to the website.

Six comments later, I was ready to pack it in.

I know Grandma’s story is good. It blessed me and everyone I’ve told it to. But six very kindly worded but mostly negative comments were enough to cause me to doubt it would ever be shared with a wider audience. If I could have deleted it, I would have. And, as for submitting it for publication in a magazine?

Not after those comments.

Why six? No special reason. Everyone has their breaking point and for me, it was six negative comments.

I seethed for awhile; I’ll admit it. But after I had time to think, I asked myself: “does my grandmother’s story deserve to be told?”

I answered myself: “Yes. I believe it does.” So… how could I do that?

I realized I needed to think about how I can use the comments to help me make some changes to my writing style. The story can’t be changed; the truth is the truth, after all. But if I studied the comments, in a more objective frame of mind and asked God to show me what I could learn from them, maybe I could make enough changes to resubmit the story.

So I did. It wasn’t easy, but letting my pride get in the way of this story would have been selfish and childish. And, after I changed the story, I did submit it to a Christian magazine.

So…yes; thanks a lot. My story will be published in next month’s issue.

Thanks for your part in sending me a blueprint to help me change the way I told Grandma’s story. You may have posted negative comments, but with God’s help, your negative comments had a positive result.

Yours truly,

Ima Youngwriter

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This article has been read 487 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mona Purvis05/13/10
Good example of positive reaction to negative critique. It's hard to do, isn't it?
I thought the letter started with one frame of mind and ended with another. A little odd way to do it.
Like the voice.

AnneRene' Capp 05/17/10
Loved "Ima Youngwriter"! Really liked how you showed the depth of pain from heartfelt critiques and used them to soar to great heights! Great encouragement for others.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge05/17/10
Sounds like you wrote what you know...often a good thing!