Recently I submitted a short story to a writers workshop and received a dozen copies back, each with their own red hatch marks correcting grammar and inserting copious amounts of absent commas. While this kind of editorial proofreading proves invaluable, it doesn't address the aspects of storytelling. For that one must look to the comments written in red on the margins and the back pages. As I read through the stack returned to me and weighed each reviewer's thoughts, I realized that I had to separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff. But how does one go about doing that? How does one move past the the initial knee-jerk reactions of wounded pride to honestly address problems inherent to their story?
Then I happened upon Neil Gaiman's 8 Good Writing Practices.
Number 5 in particular caught my attention:
Remember: when people tell you somethings wrong or doesnt work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.