I blame Demetria Gray. She had to miss our critique group meeting the other night and her absence has put poor Sandra Rathbone in a pickle. We’re not a big group. There’s just four of us but we’re very good at what we do so one can rest assured, one’s work is getting a thorough critique.
So when we met the other night to critique Sandra’s manuscript, there were only two of us actually critiquing, Myself and Cynthia Bullard. Cindy went first in giving her verbal critique. I was sipping my coffee, following along, when I began to notice something a little odd. We (Cindy and I) agreed on all the technical stuff (comma placement, sentence structure, passive vs. active, etc…) but then came the biggie. We were at totally opposite ends of the spectrum when it came to characterization and character motivation.
Cindy thought the protagonist’s boyfriend was being a controlling jerk. I thought it was sweet he wanted to help. Cindy thought he was sticking his nose into someone else’s business by sharing details about his own life. I thought it was great he was opening up. Cindy thought the protagonist should have stood up to her boyfriend better and told him to back off. I thought the protagonist was being rude and argumentative.
You can see where this is going. Sandra got a lot of help with her commas and sentence structure, but the big picture questions…she was on her own. A good rule of thumb for having a group critique your work is majority rules (most of the time as it is still your story).