When They Really Didn’t Want My Critique
And it left me to wondering what to do with people who ask for help…but really want validation of what they’d already decided to do.
Over on Scribophile, a writer opened a thread asking for help on dream sequences – how to maintain tension and have story consequence in a dream.
It seemed like an interesting topic. Before I ever read the thread, three other writers had tried to help, offering up what I will call Nightmare on Elms Street examples. But…the writer refused to accept the example because it wasn’t a normal dream. Nor was he open to exploring why that was. It simply was. And the right way to do it was his way.
Why oh why did I even think I could help? I wish I’d remember we cannot reason our way through an emotional problem any more than we can scream and cry our way through a logical problem. I should have just walked away. But I didn’t. I genuinely wanted to help. I didn’t knee jerk a reaction, instead spending about fifteen minutes constructing a scenario he might use…and yes it was not a normal dream. In my scenario my dreamer did a deep dive into his memory through a dream, trying to recover a lost memory vital to the real world, and even put a timer on it.
What did the poster do? When he finally got around to responding, he dissed my example because it wasn’t a normal dream sequence, and then went off on a rant about everyone changing definitions.
Well…I walked away.
Still, things sometimes happen for a reason. Tomorrow, I’m getting feedback from beta readers on my WIP and two of the three readers hate my story. I hope I have the good graces to listen instead of being defensive or explainy. After all, I had 125,000 words to say what I had to say and now it’s time to listen…and be thankful they took the time to read my story and tell me what they thought.