Right now I'm sick, doped up on cold medicine and practically hallucinating dancing mongooses after alternately sleeping and watching Mythbusters all day. Yet I need to say something, though to save you all the trouble of slogging through the creations of my heat-oppressed brain.
A sadly common theme I've seen in critique request forums is people who think their books are perfect and are only going into this for praise. This annoys me. I see way too many people saying things like, "I think this book is perfect, but feel free to prove me wrong".
This sort of editing is so counter-productive it hurts me. And this is coming from someone with the Seven Dwarfs mining for diamonds in her throat, chipping away at the uvula with their little pickaxes, so I know pain. If you go into critique with the idea that your novel is perfect, you're not going to react well to anything your editors have to say. You're going to cling to each word and image and phrase and character, and you're going to take everything personally. You're going to fight each change, whether it's a comma or a plot hole, because you're going to convince yourself that everything anyone says is just because they're being nitpicky, because they want to prove your confidence wrong.
That's probably true. Sometimes I'm tempted to pick up one of these novels and give it a real once-over, the kind of thing that ends up with the manuscript so marked-up it looks like I bled on the page. I can't be the only one who thinks that, and there must be some people who give in to the temptation. They're most likely being harsher than they would have been. But that doesn't automatically make their criticisms invalid, either. It's just made them put on stronger editing glasses than they normally would for a free volunteer critique.
However, when people convince themselves their manuscript is perfect, then they believe that everyone else is just being mean, and then they ignore valid edits, and cling to those people who respond with "oh, you're wonderful!" and "oh, I thought it was perfect; I'm so jealous!". (Though these reviewers rarely use semi-colons.) These writers are the ones who take rejection letters and post them on their blogs and mock the agents who are missing their chance to ride the hottest train to literary stardom. These writers grow up into authors who, after they're published, publicly mock everyone who rejected their work and "missed out". Stephenie Meyer writes about the "meanest" rejection letter she ever got, when the truth is, the agent was just doing his or her job — telling the author why her work wasn't right for representation at this time. Le sigh.
I don't really have a point or an answer to this one, just a plea: stop doing that. Don't tell people your novel is perfect. Don't send it out for critique if you think it's perfect; wait until that niggling of doubt, then send it out. Don't be the writing equivalent of that girl who submits her photo to "hot or not" websites, then goes home and cries when /b/ draws penises on her face.
Hoo, that cold medicine is something, ain't it? I think it's time for bed now.