So the other day for the first time in my life (kinda') someone other than family members read one of my stories and gave detailed feedback. It was actually kinda' funny, because he was so worried about offending me. I kept saying "it's okay, this is helpful, you're not being harsh, stop worrying or I'll slap you with a fish."
Most of the time when I give someone something I've mine to read they look at it, smile, and give it back saying "this is good." This is not helpful and will NOT help me become a better writer. In fact, it will just make me think I am a terrible writer, because I can only elicit that tiny amount of a response to you. It is #-5 on the excite-o-meter. For reals.
So when I gave my short story, Unicorn, to my friend I was expecting the same ol' "This is good" tripe. So I told him repeatedly: "Make marks! Tell me what's wrong! Please, please, please." And hallelujah, he did. I could have kissed a spork.
Even an evil spork with glowing blue eyes eating cookies.
Okay, so there's no cookies, but it wasn't my fault
Anyway, so it was really my first experience having someone tear apart my work line by line, showing me where I had succeeded, where I had completely failed, and where I could do better. I think that was the most interesting comment: "I know you can do better," and probably the most encouraging. Because this dude doesn't know me that well, but he could tell enough from my good part of the story that I could do better. Win! Hurrah! Hoorah! Huzzah!
And can I just say what a rush that was? I mean, afterwards when I actually had to start editing wasn't the greatest of excitement (#), but it wasn't the worst in the world. It kinda' gave me hope, because one of the things I worry about the most is having an editor tear my work apart, but there's a strange rush I got from having that done to my work. Knowing that before I was "uh, this is good" to "Man! My socks were knocked right off I think I'm going to pass out from sheer exhaustion of its super amazingness." Ahem. Or something along those lines.
Woo! Slap my foot, that's a good idea!