From Jane Friedman’s blog: 3 Traps That Subvert Our Ability to Accept Feedback
Ooh, ooh! I know! Without looking, these might be something like:
- It’d be too much trouble to make the changes suggested. Surely the story is okay the way it is.
- I don’t know how to make the changes suggested. Surely the story is okay the way it is.
- How dare anybody suggest changes to my deathless prose?
So those are my guesses.
Let’s see what the post actually says …
- The green-light trap. Let me see. All right, this trap occurs when the author has been told too often by family members and friends that the work is great, when it’s not actually great. The author is then stunned when they get critical feedback. So that’s a lot like my third guess above.
- The bear trap. Great name, but what is it? Okay, this one is supposed to be a problem where the author has used their work as a means of working out personal problems, but doesn’t realize it. I think that’s what this means. Or a problem where the author is too emotionally invested in the work, because it is excessively personal. Or something like that. I can see now that this whole post is more aimed at memoir and related kinds of work.
- The lottery ticket trap. Hmm. Okay, this is supposed to be a trap where the author sends out work specifically in the hope of receiving validation rather than feedback, and is then crushed to receive the latter rather than the former.
So … yes, the post is mainly aimed at memoir and related works, which I didn’t realize going in. These “traps” are a lot more psychological in nature than I was expecting. For my own list, the first two are very much craft related: I’m bored reworking this novel and just want someone to tell me it’s fine the way it is. Or, I have no clue how to fix this problem, so I’m hoping someone will tell me there’s no problem.
For those sorts of craft-related problems, feedback is useful because it says, essentially, Suck it up and make the changes you know you ought to make. That weakness you see? Other people see it too.
Also, when thinking of craft, feedback can shake loose ideas about how to fix a problem when you may be stuck. More than once, I’ve called my brother and said, “This and that and thus and so, and now what should I do?” You don’t have to have someone offer the greatest idea ever (though that is nice if it happens). You just have to have someone to kick ideas around with, to encourage your very own subconscious to present you with something helpful.
The deathless prose thing is a lot more psychological in nature. I expect everything like that is more difficult to deal with than craft-related reluctance to accept feedback.