Well, here's a problem I'm sure we'd all like to have. I went to a (live)critique with the first chapter of my novel and got RAVES!! I was blushing so much I hid my face in my hat. That felt very good.
HOWEVER... Now I am having trouble working on the rest of my novel. It's outlined and I know my characters pretty well, but I am still writing it. It is by no means a finished work.
Now, with such a great beginning, I am having a hard time working on the rest of the story. I feel pressured to make the second chapter (and all the rest) just as great as that first one. But I am a novice! I have no idea where to put the exposition, the action, etc. I want to do a great job, of course. Yet I know that I've got a lot of floundering around to do before things go right.
I guess it's just more fears and psychological boogymen trying to keep me from my work. Got any encouragement for me?
I think it was a good thing, for the most part, to share that first chapter. Now I know I have a story that interests people, and I got the vote of confidence my overcritical ego needeed. But it was also very bad because of what I am experiencing now. Still, I'm glad I did it. It's just hard when your debut to a new writing group is a critique like that. What if my next piece isn't as wonderful?
Ach, the memories.... I had a story once that had tremendous potential. A pschiatrist gave it high scores on its abililty to reach the internal workings of emotion and reality; a college professor gave it high marks for its definition and plot line... both said the foreboding was thick and the implied sexual tension left them wanting more. The other readers in the group gave it a thumbs up too... except the nurse because she hated me. <grin>
Unfortunately, that story could never compete with their critiqued plan for its growth. It wasn't where I was going, in some cases and in others -- though I was glad people noticed -- the pressure was great. Too great.
Ten years now, this story has collected dust on a shelf. I have recently pulled it off and began working on it again.
Applause... give it to me when the story is done, not before.
I think a work should not be critiqued until it's finished. As too many cooks spoil a pot; too many dreams and visions can ruin a good story.
All I can say is use this for an example and wait, next time, until you're really ready for a critique. One chapter does not a story make.
I think that critics should limit themselves to talking about how they recieve the story as readers, not how they would have written the story as a writer.
I personally divide pretty much everything that can be usefully critiqued about a story into three catagories.
Most important is POV usage. Bad POV is bad POV, good POV is good POV. There are various ways that I prefer POV, but as long as a POV actually works I don't get too picky (at least not in my own opinion ).
The next thing is plausibility. Plausibility is much more audience dependent. Some things that seem quite plausible to me would seem impossible to other readers, some things that seem possible to most readers are things that I know to be simply impossible. But there's a great deal of overlap, and you can usually do a lot to correct POV problems (I've more than once said that a writer could keep a story element that I knew was impossible simply because I also knew that most people wouldn't realize that it was impossible, and the converse as well, eliminating elements that I knew were possible because I knew that most readers would think them impossible). Even though plausibility issues aren't as universally applicable as POV issues, they are still fairly broadly applicable.
Then finally there's market. I rarely criticize market unless I percieve that the writer is potentially unaware of the fact that the work won't appeal to the intended audience. The fact of the matter is, though, that most stories can find a market if they are written at all well. That market may be very small or even composed entirely of people that I don't think highly of , but it still exists.
The vast majority of my criticism deals with POV issues, only occasionally addressing plausibility issues and rarely bringing up market issues.
I never even begin to bother with criticisms about artistic vision...that's a matter of personal choice, not of correct and incorrect writing.