YA Highway‘s RTW this week: What kind of writing coach do you need? When you have to coach friends, what kind of coach are you?
Now, it might be because I adore Tim Gunn, but I think that I work best with “The Gentle Honesty Coach,” according to Sarah Enni’s mentor post over at YA Highway.
For me, medicine is best taken with a heavy dose of sugar. Not literally–that’s gross. But I always try to sandwich any criticisms between ample praise, and I appreciate when my critique partners do the same. Positive reinforcement is not only good for self-esteem, it also helps to know what scenes or lines are really working for people.
Critique groups I’ve been involved with in the past have varied in their approach, so I have a good basis for my preferred methods. Personally, I’ve found that when I only get negative feedback I tend to shut down. I feel attacked and it just makes me want to quit writing and hide in a closet for the rest of my life. Perhaps others work well under such brutal conditions, but it’s not for me.
Besides, if a critique partner can’t think of a single positive thing about your writing, maybe they aren’t your intended audience. Maybe you’re better off working with someone who appreciates that quip your MC just said, or the emotional connection between your MC and his/her parents, even if they think your villain is two one-dimensional or that you have a massive plot hole that needs repairing.
How about you? What type of mentor do you prefer? Can you handle brutal honesty without flinching?