My latest short story is about an assassin named Lucia who finds redemption in motherhood. How does she achieve said motherhood? By adopting the infant of her last victim. How does she adopt it? By performing an impromptu, bloody c-section on said dying victim. The child is her saving grace because he is the offspring of killers--one of whom tried to impregnated Lucia. They, Lucia and the baby's parents, belong to a caste whose business is death and so cannot create life.
I recieved a harsh crit of the story from an editor, which most of my critique friends said was bullhonky. If you think because they are also my friends they cannot be honest critters, you obviously were not a fly on the wall at the library last Tuesday while my recent chapters recieved a sound thrashing. My crit group, some of whom are fellow editors, are a (sometime cursed) picky, knowledgable lot. I've suffered much angst at their hands. The more painful the crit, the closer it is to the truth. However, I believe in honest critique, and there are jewels even in idiocy. This editor's critique was not very emotional for me, but still, I set the story aside for a few days and then tackled it again with a fresh eye.
It's a better story for it. I developed more levels. Several themes crash into that moment when the baby is pulled from its dying mother's womb. I also strived to find ways to make Lucia more sympathetic. Lucia just wanted redemption, and through hearing even a clumsy critique, I learned that.That's the power of critique, and it's the greatest gift a writer can recieve.