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Surviving Criticism : Conversation question • Page 5 • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Surviving Criticism

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
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4thtroika
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RE: Surviving Criticism

Postby 4thtroika » Thu Sep 11, 2008 6:43 am


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Susan
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RE: Surviving Criticism

Postby Susan » Thu Sep 11, 2008 4:44 pm

Having our writing criticized can be difficult to take.  However, I think it's important to have confidence in our writing and know that what we are receiving is another person's opinion.  You can't please the world, all we can do is our best.


hexedbird
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RE: Surviving Criticism

Postby hexedbird » Fri Sep 12, 2008 4:24 pm

Taking the negative is rough and it negates anything good that was said previously.

I have a novel that was accepted for publication. I signed a contract and the publisher assigned an editor. Well when I got her notes on some items in my book I hit the ceiling. My baby was marked up with highlights and sticking points about something called passive verbs and I am lucky that I had the sense to calm down before I fired off an angry E-mail. I was furious! I thought they liked me! Now this!

It took a while but when I did cool off I saw that I missed the nice comments. I missed the editor saying how much she liked the book but that we might be able to tighten it up a bit. Missed it all in my rage at the critisism. I did have to cut some things that didn't advance the plot. It hurt, but she was right when I thought about it. Maybe one day I'll be big enough to publish it uncut, like one of the director's cuts of a movie.

adagio
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RE: Surviving Criticism

Postby adagio » Sat Sep 13, 2008 12:16 am

Oh, I hate it when I'm repeatedly told that my writing is cliched and 'pointless' - a word used by one particular critter!! I hate it - but I'm well aware of the 'cliche' bit. I'm so bad at coming up with 'fresh' words I wonder sometimes why I try writing at all. The 'pointless' critique angered me only because I'm a fervent believer that not all stories have to have a point. I personally love a story for a story's sake, from time to time - and get irritated by incessant messages and, well, 'points'.

How did I respond? Graciously. I did keep my anger away - or at least kept it to myself. I offered my work for critique, after all. Why bother to do that if I'm not going to accept criticism in every shape or form. I think my best response to unfavourable comments stems from another writer pointing out to me at some time that the worst critique EVER is simply not to get one. I mean, when you post a story and see 375 'views' but receive not a single response you just know there's something very, very wrong, don't you? And that's worse. It's like being ignored. I'd much rather a post that says 'Bored after half a paragraph!'

adagio

Zurrell Loriez
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RE: Surviving Criticism

Postby Zurrell Loriez » Sat Sep 13, 2008 4:22 pm

I self published my book Nothing Good Lasts Forever when I was seventeen years old, and soon after i searched the internet to see if someone wrote a review. I don't know why, because I hadn't even sold my first novel yet...or so I thought. I went to Barnes and Noble, and then to Amazon, where to my shock and horror there was a review.

"Worst book ever!"

was the punch title line, and followed a waterfall of paragraphs with detailed stabs at my craft. I can still remember some of the lines in detail, "I know this is a kid, but if you're going to write a book, make it a good one, the characters where like cartoon characters, the title has nothing to do with the book....etc."

When I say this it is the utmost truth, I LITERALLY sat looking at my computer screen in shock for twenty minutes straight, only to find enough strength to finally get up and lay on the bed looking at the ceiling for another thirty minutes.

So many thoughts went through my mind, "Who is this, why was it so personal, what did I do to her, how can i get it erased, should I stop writing?"

I wrote her back and said, "I read your review and OUCH! Do you have anymore suggestions for me?"

She wrote me back and apologized, and gave me some advice.

I then read Stephen Kings "Writing, a memoir of the craft" and was totally inspired because King (unlike most people believe) found it very hard to get his first novel Carrie published. Ever since then I have had a laid back response to negative feedback. By me being so young and just starting that should have destroyed me but it turned out to be a blessing because it toughened me and NOTHING can ever get to me now. She hit me really hard in the heart like no other reviewer could, but thanks to that I will now know how to handle negative feedback after dealing with the worst.

-Zurrell

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Elibet
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Re: Surviving Criticism

Postby Elibet » Sat Sep 13, 2008 7:14 pm

My worse criticism came when I applied to join a peer critique group. I was rejected. That was more painful than all the rejected submissions.

A great resource for writers is The Dimwits Dictionary 5,000 overused words and phrases. I think every cliche is broken down and laid out in there:)

Elizabeth

dgford
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RE: Surviving Criticism

Postby dgford » Tue Sep 16, 2008 6:00 am

I joined a writer's group at our local library.  In the beginning things were fine.  After a number of months, I noticed the group wasn't growing beyond our handful of eight people.  I mentioned, "maybe we could slip an add in the local paper" - free press piece.  Also "why don't we throw an announcement up on the library counter the week of the meeting?"  

The group leader stopped me dead in my tracks.  "I think we are just the right size, and the room couldn't hold too many other folks."  On that note, I left that evening and have not gone back.  It has been over year and the same starchy group is still meeting in the same small room.  There are many larger rooms in the library , if we were to grow.  The key word in my life as a writer is the word "GROW."  

Then I met the WORLD of you folks, and more growing took place!   I have expanded my horizons several times since. Cheers, Don 


jrtomlin
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Re: Surviving Criticism

Postby jrtomlin » Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:26 pm

Elibet, I once applied to a local writer's group admittedly one started by a very well0known writer, but still just a group. The leader said he'd get back to me and never bothered to do so. Now that stung so I hear you.

Criticism can really sting and it's the worst when it comes from other writers.

drteddy@griefworksin
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Re: Surviving Criticism

Postby drteddy@griefworksin » Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:21 am

HI...JUST GOT MY FIRST DIGEST...LUV IT. I HAVE MY BOOK ON LINE FREE TO ALLTO READ...PALM ISLAND...PARADISE LOST.
I GOOGLE AND FINE A TWO STAR REVIEW. WOW! MY BOOK IS ABOUT MY EX HUSBAND AND HIS AFFAIR. I THINK I FELT MY MARRIAGE REVIEW WAS PROBABLY THE BLACK HOLE IN SPITE OF MY 100% EFFORT. I GIVE MYSELF 5 STARS FOR ACCEPTING BOTH REVIEWS. I AM WRITING MY SECOND BOOK...JOBS GIFTS. I THINK I NEED TO SUBMIT IT TO CRITISM BEFORE I PUT IT ON LINE.......TEDDY TARR...www.griefworksinc.com

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kerrymichaelwood
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Re: Surviving Criticism

Postby kerrymichaelwood » Fri Sep 19, 2008 3:06 am

I've always remembered a professor's comment on an essay assignment (the essay was not mine. "Don't do this to me again."

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