Calling Henry Higgins

Let a woman in your life,
And patience hasn’t got a chance,
She will beg you for advice,
Your reply will be concise,
She will listen very nicely
and then go out and do precisely
What she wants — Henry Higgins, My Fair Lady

I was reminded today of the Writer’s Workshop I did for Orycon. One of the authors had written a fairly interesting fantasy piece, and aside from the usual “show don’t tell” advice, I mentioned that I thought he might want to revisit the beginning, because it was a little slow. In fact, it didn’t start to get interesting until page 11 for me, and if I hadn’t promised to read through the whole thing and mark it up for the workshop, I would have put it down after about page 2.

The other two commentators in the workshop expressed the same opinion (and I was not the first to go, so they were by no means following my lead). So, here we have an unpublished author who pays a fee to get his “manuscript in progress” professionally critiqued, and all three reviewers comment that he should probably rewrite the beginning to make it more engaging.

Naturally, you would expect that since he paid for this session, he would be taking notes, asking questions, gathering as much feedback as possible so that he could incorporate the suggestions into his manuscript and get it ready for submission. Instead, he told us all, very politely, that he had already tried it that way and it didn’t work out, so he really needed to leave it exactly like it was, thank you very much.

So he paid the critique fee… to basically ignore the critque? Continue reading