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Critique

Criticism is a good writer’s best friend and a bad writer’s bane of existence. Some people use it as an excuse to just be an ass about your writing. Others legitimately want to help you. So let’s play a game. Is the following excerpt an example of constructive criticism or being an asshat:

Woah, okay. Your pacing is way too fast here. What happened? Why does everything feel wonky here? You were doing okay before. Slow it down some.

  • Critique
  • Asshat
Spoiler

Critique

Let’s try another one:

You suck! This is hardly even a story!

  • Critique
  • Asshat
Spoiler

Asshat

Pretty easy to tell the difference. Good criticism tells you “This is what you’re doing wrong. This is how I think you should fix it.” It is a sign of respectful readers who appreciate what you’re making and want to see you better yourself in your craft. They’re offering you suggestions, not making an attack on your personal character. If you lash out to someone offering you critiques or advice, you will risk the respect of your readers and will not grow from the experience as you should.

What about flaming? When someone starts talking to you like you’re a bad person or otherwise blatantly insults both you and your story, you can let them have it then, right?

Not really. You should just ignore people like that. If anything, you should be laughing and giddy when you get responses in this manner on occasion. If you get them constantly then something might be wrong. But if you get hate sparsely, it usually means you’re doing something right. 

Spoiler

I personally like to ignore them, but giggle and print out the hate they sent. I have a cork board at home labeled “love mail” that has all the hate comments I’ve received on it.

Critiques never tend to feel very good, but they help build your skill as a writer. If you make a huge mistake and the readers point it out, it’s something you can learn to avoid in the future. But if you only get “nice!” Or “Cool!” in response to your work you learn nothing but to feed your ego. Want to see a bad storm? Tell a writer with an overinflated ego their work is bad.

You don’t have to listen to criticism. That’s your prerogative. All it is meant to be is a suggestion for you. Whether or not you take it is at your discretion. But treat your readers with the proper respect, and you should especially be grateful to those going out of their way to offer you advice on your story.

  • Brohoof 3


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I have gotten some really mean replies from people who I have given criticism to. I made sure I wasn’t being rude either. 
The root cause of criticism is not malice. It’s assistance.

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Everyone likes to feel right or validated. It takes strong character to admit when you are wrong.

As for me, I am always right. Except for this one time when I thought I was wrong, but it turned out I was right.

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Heh, actually, that attitude has far lessened for me once I found out where my values come from - You know, that one blog post of mine.

Once past that...I was not required to show others how right I would be all the time, I guess I was basically asking for verbal sweets from others: Oh, you are right, you have done this well! WHO IS A GOOD BOY, WHO IS A GOOD BOY!? YOU ARE !

I am not required to judge or condemn about myself, so it seems to be way more OK to have been wrong.

Or stuff.

I meanwhile mostly just focus on consequences now instead of putting down personal judgement or condemnations.

  • Brohoof 1

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Aye, I'm a knee-jerk critic myself. As they say, the term Cynic came up in ancient greek as derived for the word for the roving packs of wild, viscious dogs that roamed the streets sometimes.

 Its in the family, most of my family is Extremely Critical. Cynicalness runs in the veins, Like venom.

Been attending the local Writer's Club here and sometimes its tricky. One doesn't want to just say that it simply "doesn't sound right." Because when reviewing somebeing else's work its easy to start saying things like how the goals or actions of characters doesn't really make sense and how you think the character should act when the Writer can just lean back and get that little bug in the bonnet with a rightful "Well, I'm the one that Wrote Them. Think I know what my characters act & think, since they've been that way since I thought them up."

 Like, Bro. Sometimes we want to creature characters that really are intended to be fully Asinine! ...that's what i'm working on now. A story where just everyone are jerks. More realistic that way!!

 I think the important thing to remember is that when it comes to critique, there's no Right Way. As is most creative endeavors. When you're critiquing (and by the way, have I mentioned I made a Critique Thread?!!?) it's important to keep in mind that you or they aren't asking you to change how you think or anything else about you. Creators can Baby their work and think that its been that way since first generated in their head and that there's no way it can't be perfect as long as it stays TRUE TO MY SPIRIT AND ITS COMPLETELY FLAWLESS! I'M PERFECT!!! NOTICE ME WORLD!!!

 -Cough.-

So maybe I can't take what I dish out.

  • Brohoof 1

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On the other side of the spectrum, what do people gain from flaming someone’s work? I think that’s due to the anonymity you get online. People are jerks for the sake of being jerks. It’s why I say if you want to start a YouTube channel you have to have the thickest skin in the world.

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