A couple times during college I asked different friends, “What’s wrong with me?”
On some level I think I wanted to be sure I was “working on” the stuff that actually bugged people, but at my core I know I wanted to hear, “There’s nothing wrong with you.”
I never heard that.
Instead I got a very cautious, respectful, (in one case delighted) listing of all my known flaws. They hurt to have so plainly enumerated, but I was thankful at least not to hear anything new.
This is how I feel about sending off my manuscript with directions to tell me everything that was wrong. I was contemplating how differently (more critically) people are reading this than the average book off the shelf, when my SIL nailed the reason.
“You *asked* them to notice what’s wrong. When I’m asked that I’m going to be reading differently.”
So, in a last-minute effort to salvage my feelings, I do want to announce that I forgot to put on critique directions that I am *also* interested in anything nice you want to say about what you read.
I want the story to be as good as it can be, so yes, I want to hear ideas about improving; but I’d greatly enjoy hearing indications it was more enjoyable than painful to read, and knowing any particular moments that were favorites or helped form a positive impression of the work.
There. I hope that’s not interpreted as groveling for compliments.