Tonight is the premier of America’s Got Talent an there’s quite a lot of buzz because Howard Stern is the newest judge. As a fan of his, I’m looking forward to watching the show. That’s saying something because, aside from half of American Idol’s first season, I’ve never watched any of these type of shows. But I like Howard’s opinions and want to see how he does. He’s been asked a lot about what his approach to judging will be and his answer is very simple:
Unlike me, Howard is a big fan of all the singing/talent competition shows and his main gripe is that the judges don’t have a strong enough opinions. He went on to say that when he gives constructive criticism, even if it’s negative, he’s doing that person a favor. He’s telling that person there’s a reason you failed.
If someone asks for honest critique, then we owe that person our honesty.
When I gave my first chapter to Kait and Susan, I did it with the expectation of getting back honesty. They delivered. The chapter failed. They weren’t mean about it, but they made sure their point came through loud and clear. The whole thing failed. And they took it a step further, suggesting my need for further writerly training. They gave me a lot of reasons for their opinions and when I thought about it, I realized they were right. Since then, my writing’s improved and it’s all because of their honesty.
This arrangement goes both ways. I had to be open to the critique I got.
If I had let my emotions cloud my judgement or turned my nose up at their experience I was only shooting myself in the foot. Not to mention, wasting their time.
So, if someone asks for your honest opinion, give it. You’re not doing him any favors by stroking his ego. How will you know if the person truly wants honesty? Warn him ahead of time. Tell him you’re not going to say you like something if you really don’t and if that will be okay.
If you ask for critique, make sure you really want it. No one can write a perfect story on their own. Even if you’re the main architect, going pro is a collaborative effort and if someone’s willing to help you, especially for free, don’t waste that person’s time being a crybaby. Take the criticism for what it is; a chance to be BETTER.
Any thoughts on getting or receiving crit?