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Nov 14, 2022 How do you deal with negative feedback? Do you have tips for critiquing other writers’ work?
I value feedback on my work.
I'm a part of two regular critique groups--one in person and one online--because having other eyes on my work is so helpful to solving the puzzle. I learn a lot, too, from providing feedback. Having to examine my own reactions and be specific about where I got lost or why a scene isn't working for me helps me avoid falling into those same pitfalls when it's my turn.
That's feedback in a safe environment, though, with people I have long-term relationships with and where reciprocity necessitates kindness, or at least professionalism.
There's also public feedback, in the form of reviews or social media comments. That's a completely different kettle of fish, and sometimes it really stinks.
I accepted long ago that my work isn't for everyone, but a lot of reviewers and commenters do seem to forget there's a person on the other end of that work. They can be belittling or accusatory in their critiques, so it's important to develop a thick skin and learn to sort the wheat from the chaff.
There's a balance to be found, as there is in so many things, both in receiving and giving criticism.
When receiving it, I try to listen without pushback or oversensitivity, to allow for the possibility that the complaints are at least partly legitimate. This is easy with my critique partners, because we have long-established relationships, but hard with random members of the public, when it can feel like an attack, especially if you run across the comment unexpectedly.
That's why I only wade in and read reviews periodically, and never if I'm already in the throes of self-doubt and low confidence. I do still read them though. I know some authors don't, but I watch for themes, so I can learn and make each book better than the one before it.
When I'm the one giving critique, I make sure I come with a heart to help. I think about how I would want to hear a critique and try to give my fellow writers the same consideration. Whether I'm writing a review or offering feedback in a writing group, I try to be fair and balanced, explaining any biases I have that color my view and pointing out what is done well as well as what didn't work for me.
How do you handle giving and receiving critique in your life? What makes it easy or hard? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Check out the rest of the blog hop in the link below.
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Some people just love trashing an author's work just for the sake of it. Usually though they're easy to spot - the English and grammar will be bad for a start, and they would have given lots of one star ratings before.ReplyDelete
Some people come to build, others to tear things down.Delete
It a review gives me something to help me grow, whether its good or bad, it's useful. If it doesn't do that, I scroll on by.ReplyDelete
"Come with a heart to help" -- I think that about sums it up.ReplyDelete
First out I burst out laughing at the photo of a kettle of fish - caught me completely off guard. :-) 2ndly - yes, if you are a low mood - never read your reviews. There isn't enough chocolate in the world to fix that crash. Tweeted.ReplyDelete
#truth And I'm glad my kettle of fish amused you.Delete
A few years ago I had a bunch of people in a writing competition pile on me. Some criticisms were merited (i.e. too many characters given the length of the piece) but it was mostly that the group of participants seemed to smell blood in the water and went in for the kill. To be honest, I still haven't forgiven these people, although I have since taken part in other writing competitions from the same group of organizers. One of the organizers came to my defense, basically saying she'd never seen such ugly behavior during a competition and never wanted to see such a thing again.ReplyDelete
I truly feel in this case it was the audience rather than the story. I came up against an "I don't like vampire stories so I'm going to tear this one apart" crowd. My response was "if you don't like vampire stories, why are you reading one?"
Holy smokes, that sounds terrible. I'm careful about critique situations for just this reason.Delete