Hollie asks: How you deal with notes...specifically people who give notes in a way that makes you feel like scratching their eyelids out?
Notes are great. But they're just opinions, and you don't have to take them. Never forget that this is YOUR story and you can tell it how YOU want. Sometimes getting too many notes will send you in so many directions that you've got a muddled script that's trying to tell too many stories. Identifying which notes are good and which should be ignored is tough, and takes much practice and thought.
As for the eyelid scratching: Eek. I think you have to wonder if these awful people actually know what they’re talking about and just have a tact problem, or if they’re useless AND have a tact problem. If it’s the former, maybe have a word with them about being professional and polite. This sounds really hard to me as I hate confrontation, but if you think it’s still worth it to hear their notes but you can’t stand the WAY they give the notes, maybe it’s worth asking.
But if all their notes are totally useless, AND the delivery is threatening the safety of your eyelids, why bother getting notes from the person? Lose ‘em. Writing should be fun and rewarding. Tough sometimes, yes, but your eyelids should stay safe at all times. If said Cruel Note Givers part of a larger group that contains cooler, more useful people, maybe you should ask the other members if they feel the same way, and if so, how they'd feel about telling the CNGs, "Dude, you’re outta the band." I’ve never had to do that (as my writing group rocks, and I never really got my shit together enough to start the band). Anybody have any tips?
I do remember classes with people like the ones you mentioned. Honestly, when I get crappy notes – especially in an insulting way – I am most likely to just nod and say okay while daydreaming about sharing a keg with Cappie from Greek.
There’s one thing you might want to keep in mind, though – even if a note seems stupid, it’s coming from somewhere. It might be useful to think about why this person is having this reaction to your material. Are you missing something? Is something confusing?
And, since you mentioned commas...for the record – I happen to love commas. People don't give them enough love. Semicolons really get me going, but commas are hot too.