Last week in my post about me I mentioned that I had written a new short story, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to give it to people for feedback or not. Well, my curiosity got the best of me, and this past weekend I did share it with a few people. I got some compliments, and I got some criticisms. Not surprising, right? After all, it's all subjective.
I admit I never was a great believer in the idea that "it's all subjective." I think in many respects criticism can be quite objective, and the better the critic, the better the objectivity.
So, why does saying about subjectivity come up so often?
In thinking more about the criticism I got back today, I wonder if the reason criticism seems subjective is because most critics differ in what they think writing should be.
We see this among ourselves and our different goals. Some of us are striving to make high art. Some of us are looking to write a book that agents will approve of. Some of us want to see our books on a bookstore shelf. Some of us want to make a living through writing.
If we were to start with the same story, and each of us wanted to accomplish different goals with it, I'd argue that the direction each one of us revised in would also differ. Chances are, someone who is trying to write the type of book that has never been written before won't succeed very well in getting an agent in today's publishing world. That doesn't mean that what she or he wrote is bad.
So, I wonder if having the unity of vision is absolutely essential before a writer and reviewer can seek to exchange ideas that are actually helpful in the revision process.
And...Happy Birthday to Michelle!!! Da da da-ta da-ta da da dah!