You will often spend a year or more writing and rewriting each script.  You’ve edited your own work and have given it several polishes. You then submit it either to a writing consultant or, if you’re lucky, to a studio reader for notes. When you get the notes back, you are devastated. The comments you get are scathing. They inform you that your plot is weak, your characters aren’t developed fully enough, and your structure is lacking.

The first thing you need to remember is that your script is always a work in progress. And as painful as it may seem, many of the notes you will receive will really improve your material. More times than not, writers will send out their material prematurely even when they know in their heart of hearts that their script is not ready to be shown. They have written the script so many times that they’ll say to themselves that it has to be ready by now even though it really is not.

I had a writing friend who I would submit my work to for feedback. He would always be consistently negative about my material. I came to expect that he would not like whatever I gave him to look over no matter how well it was written. But despite his overall negativity, he would be right about one or two elements regarding my scripts. And fixing those specific things that needed improvement was worth it even though I had to listen to a lot of other overly critical comments.

The bottom line in receiving criticism is to try as best you can to separate yourself from your ego. Decide what suggestions about your material to accept and incorporate into your writing that will actually make it better.  Also decide about what comments you get back that you honestly disagree with and just disregard them as being off base.

Most of all, understand that receiving criticism and rejection is a normal part of any creative endeavor whether it be writing, art, or music.

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Read Steve on Screenwriting by Steve Kaire the first Thursday of the month on Write On! Online. For more from Steve Kaire, check out his website: High Concept Screenwriting.

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