I recently joined an online critique group and am amazed at the different opinions expressed about each chapter that was turned in. While I have a tendency to be a little shy with my comments (mostly because I am still learning), others fill each page with comments and suggestions that range from typos to major rewrites. It's not uncommon to see more red on the page than black. So how does a person deal with such differences of opinion?
First of all, I think you need to approach it with a good attitude. Remember that comments from other writers are subjective and may be a reflection of their style of writing and voice. Be leery to make changes that go against your inner voice and change the way your personality flows on the page.
Second, take each suggestion as it is intended, as something for you to consider, not something that NEEDS to be changed. However, be careful not to dismiss it because of pride. Sometimes we don't see how to make our own work better because we are so close to it. Consider everything carefully. Another writer's experience and education might be just what you need in order to get your work to the top of the slush pile and into the book store.
Third, ask questions. If there is a comment made that you don't understand, make sure you get clarification. If you understand the change that has to be made, maybe it will help you avoid making that mistake again.
And Fourth, be gracious. Even if you choose not to use the suggestions or make the changes, be grateful that someone was willing to lend a hand. Let them know how much you appreciate their honestly and the time it took to read through your work. This is especially the case when someone takes on the time consuming and sometimes daunting task of editing an entire manuscript. Make sure you thank them and be willing to do the same for them if asked.
So, how did I do with my first session? Not to shabby. I didn't have quite as many comments as I thought I would. Maybe my skin is just getting tougher, but I'd like to think I'm actually getting better at this writing thing...LOL