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Reading the Tea Leaves of Critique

How to Draw Meaning from Murky Feedback

Jael McHenry

Critique is one of the best and worst parts of the writing process. Best because the right feedback from the right person at the right time can improve your book in ways you never would have figured out yourself. Worst because hearing criticism—right or wrong—can be painful and unpleasant, not to mention demoralizing.

But whether it’s good or bad, critique is necessary. A story produced completely in isolation is unlikely to be as strong as one that benefits from feedback.

Still, critique can be confusing. What are your readers really saying? What are you supposed to do about it? What if your four readers have four different opinions about the best way to ...

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