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Dear Reader

How well do you respond to critique? I’m sure by now you’re familiar with the mantra – from WM and virtually anybody else you ask – that you should seek out professionals and readers for critical responses to your work-in-progress. Sometimes, a fresh pair of eyes can really help you pin down a problem, even find its solution, or just give you a general appreciation of how the book sits in its field. But please take it all with a pinch of salt. Part of the problem is the definition.

Critique is a loaded word, far too closely linked to criticism for comfort. Too many helpers, non-writers especially, think asking for feedback is an invitation to tear your work apart, to, literally, be critical, pointing out perceived flaws that are actually no more than personal foibles or one-up you on how they would do it better. They might be enthusiastic to help. They might be honest. But even from the most experienced of critics, not everything will be useful to you. It’s up to you to decide how much to take on, how much to discard, and whether you might not have been better off just not asking in the first place.

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About Writing Magazine

Want to double your story sales? In this month's issue of Writing Magazine we tell you how to turn one idea into two stories. All writers need feedback on their work, and we explore how positive feedback will make you a better writer. Is horror dead? We look at the current state of horror publishing. This month's star interview is author Nikesh Shukla talking about the big issues: life, race and big ideas. Read 20 pages of news about competitions and opportunities to get into print, and there's £60,089 in writing prizes to be won.