It’s very important to not only accept criticism, but to actually seek it. It took me a long time to get to this point, but I can’t stress it enough. Giving manuscripts to family members and close friends may be good for the ego because they basically tell you what you want to hear, but giving them to straight-talkers who provide good criticism enables you to make the story better – and that’s what the goal should always be. When I pass manuscripts to people, I make it very clear that I do not want a pat on the back, at least not at that point. What I want is good, old-fashioned criticism, and I will think about it with an opened mind. It took me a long time to get to this point as well.