First Critique

At internship, my main task is to send out rejection letters. Harsh, I know. I crush people’s dreams. I’m quite aware of that. I’m heartless and karma will get me someday… (I really hope not but that is what my friends tell me. How nice.)

However, while I did send out a handful of rejections, I did get to do something new for a change: critique a picture book and send feedback and suggestions to the author. I’ve never done this before at internship, but I found that I really enjoyed it. There’s this illustrator that my mentor is in contact with. Her work has been published by our house, but she has never written any books. This illustrator’s goal is to come out with a superb picture book. The problem is that they really aren’t fantastic. My mentor is aware that English is not this illustrator’s native language, so some errors in the text are forgivable. Grammar can always be fixed anyways. It was up to me to critique the work with helpful suggestions for improvement.

Obviously, critiquing took up a lot more work than rejecting. I found that I had a difficult time choosing my words correctly at first. I knew what was wrong with the story, but I couldn’t quite put it into writing. The process did get easier once I got started. I stopped being hesitant and honestly wrote down what I thought could use some improvement. I found parts of the story that I did like and praised her to help soften the blow of my critique.

Once finished with my thorough examination of the picture book, I gave it to my mentor for review. She agreed with all of my suggestions and sent it out to the author. Later in the afternoon, she let me know that the author had replied saying that she was very thankful for the suggestions and she could not wait to start revising.

While this task was mentally tasking, it was a novel experience that I truly enjoyed. Also, I think that the end result is a lot more gratifying. Instead of crushing another person’s dream, I helped one closer to achieving it.

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