The Seven Stages of Receiving Critique on a Manuscript

1. Shock & denial – Did they even read my brilliant manuscript? Or did they just vomit red ink all over it? I’m seriously doubting the collective mental capacity of  my critique group.

2. Pain & guilt – How could I have given them this drivel? No wonder they didn’t get it. It isn’t that they don’t know how to read…I just don’t know how to write.

3. Anger & bargaining – You know what? FINE. If my critique group obviously has such a problem with this stupid story, maybe I should just shelve it. It can join the other stupid manuscripts in their dusty old binders. And if I do that, the next one will be better. It has to be. It’s like, the Law of Writing.

4. Depression, reflection, & loneliness – Whyyyyyy? Why do I even write? This is the stupidest “passion” a person could have. It only brings me pain. Nobody can understand what I’m going through. Nobody. Nobody. Nobody.

5. The upward turn – Even I’m getting tired of my whining. The only person who’s going to fix the (obvious, gaping) plot holes in this story is ME. So I better just cowgirl up and do it.

6. Reconstruction & working through – So if I can revisit these comments without slitting my throat, maybe I’ll find the very useful suggestions my esteemed critique group gave me.

7. Acceptance & hope – They’re right. My critique group is right. It doesn’t make sense for X, Y, and Z to happen in light of the fact that my main character is obviously B. Crap. But I can fix it. This happens with every manuscript – I think it’s unfixable, and then, I work through it. I can do this, and I will, and it’s going to be smashing, baby. Smashing.


  1. Dana · June 3, 2011

    Lol @ your Kleenex.

    You are a wonderful writer and bright and funny, and will go through your manuscript and make it EVEN BETTER. Instead of just being good, it will now be awesome.

    This is a fact.

  2. Katy Longshore · June 3, 2011

    I think I’ve hit most of these stages in the past two weeks on my first draft! I didn’t even need my critique group to see it! Thanks for your insight. Putting away my “Tissues for Losers” now.

  3. Pat · June 3, 2011

    Dana is absolutely correct! And this was a very funny post to which I so related.

  4. Beth Hull · June 3, 2011

    Thanks ladies! This whole process is a big rollercoaster. Like the first draft isn’t hard enough, as Katy said.

  5. thegracefuldoe · June 3, 2011

    Love it, Beth! So very true. (And funny!)

  6. Maggie · June 3, 2011

    Nice list (and picture) and so true!

  7. Monica-Marie Holtkamp · June 3, 2011

    OMG! This is too funny! How’d you get a pic of me while I’m writing like that? Because that’s exactly what I look like! ROFL

    I think that I’ve gone through ALL of those stages just last week! ROFL Glad that I’m not the ONLY one! Thank you for this!

  8. Randi · June 3, 2011

    Sounds like me as I am writing thank you notes! I love the braids!

  9. Beth Hull · June 5, 2011

    It’s so good to know #4 is not true – I am not alone, & lots of people understand. Thanks, everyone, for your comments!

  10. Vicki · June 29, 2011

    #3 is definitely my fave 🙂 and heck, if the writing thing doesn’t pan out your art skills are improving with every drawing!! But that won’t be necessary because you ARE a talented writer, red ink or not!

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  12. Cheryl · July 24, 2011

    lol this list is too funny. and I know your manuscript WILL be smashing! 😉

  13. Seven · August 3, 2011

    You are one funny writer! That’s my Padner!

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  15. darkocean · January 11, 2015

    lol! I’m finally on stage 7, yay Revising, and more revising. I have an online critique group that rocks, they have been hitting my manuscript hard. I’m thinking maybe theres something worth saving if they are bothering to put so much work into helping me with it. =D

    • Beth Hull · January 11, 2015

      Yes! That is a great attitude! Keep going with it. I’m glad you survived all seven stages. 🙂

      • darkocean · January 27, 2015

        Thanks. Me too! 🙂

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