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Author Topic: Work Critiqued?  (Read 1305 times)

Offline Phoenix

Work Critiqued?
« on: April 04, 2016, 02:46:26 PM »
So i'm just wondering how you all get over getting bad critique on your books(or stories etc) and if your'e sensitive to it and if you actually use it to make your future books/stories better?
"My death shall spark a war, and from the ashes of the battlefield I shall be reborn"

Offline Nora

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Re: Work Critiqued?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2016, 03:17:29 PM »
I get over book critic with a little heart ache and a sigh, because it's not the same as having your parent refusing to get you piano lessons because they dim you too bird brained to go through learning scales, and that's the kind of father I had, so a little constructive criticism ain't gonna make me cry.

And I sure hope that I use it to make my work better. What's the point of seeking critic at all if you're not trying to use it? Either you ask for critic to use, or you cruise by yourself and risk it all. Editors/publishers would be the potential wall of critic that you can bypass, I imagine, not that I've reached a level where my work gets this much attention.

"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

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Offline JRTroughton

Re: Work Critiqued?
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2016, 03:19:56 PM »
1) The only way to improve is to get over your ego and accept you're not always right. You might be in this case, but you need to consider why the beta doesn't like something.

They might be a madman who is too blinkered to see your brilliance.

But they probably aren't.

2) Accept this is a craft. A skill. Something you are improving on all the time. You're only going to improve by understanding what readers want, what readers need, and how you can match those expectations. Every critique offers an opinion. That's valuable, even if you decide they aren't right.

3) You won't get anywhere with thin skin. Yes, let it hurt when people say something isn't great. It should hurt, because you want the work to be right and sometimes it isn't there yet. But move past that. Accept that it's not nice to get things wrong, but you're taking feedback on board and your next piece will be better.

4) There is no point in having work critiqued unless you want to use that feedback to improve it. I've posted work before just to get pats on the back. I didn't get any better. What makes you listening to what people think, and fixing problems.

5) I might be repeating some points here.

In short...

 - It will hurt.
 - It's almost always valuable.
 - Use it or don't bother asking people to do it.

Offline tebakutis

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Re: Work Critiqued?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2016, 03:22:43 PM »
I think the key to accepting critiques (good or bad) is removing your ego from your work. I remember when I first started getting my stories critiqued probably ... 20 years ago now? I was ready for my writer's group to tell me how amazing my work was. I was lucky enough to be part of a writer's group with much more experienced writers, and the first time I brought in my perfect, amazing story that was lovely in every way - they called out a ton of problems.

Initially, my reaction was shock and disappointment. My story was perfect! How can you dislike it? But as I got better at listening to critiques and saw that my stories were becoming BETTER thanks to feedback, my feeling disappointment over people not liking every aspect of my stories began to be replaced with gratitude for how my work improved. I doubt I would have ever started selling stories, or be as comfortable writing as I am now, without people pointing out the tons of places where I could become a better writer.

Also, if that doesn't get through less than positive reviews or critiques (which you should always learn from) the other thing to remember is that entertainment is subjective. There are people who think Harry Potter is tripe and Game of Thrones is bloated and terrible. Not everyone is going to like everything, and that's especially true of your own work.

To give you an example? My first book has been fairly well reviewed, and a lot of people have liked it. But some don't.

Here's an example of a positive review for my first book:

Quote
I laughed at this book. I cursed at this book. I sighed in frustration and mentally beat my head against a wall at this book. Basically, against the type of books I normally read, it was a good book. For a fantasy book? Its the best I’ve read in several years.

And here's an example of a negative review of my first book:

Quote
A friend dropped a book off for me today and I thought I'd quickly finish this and see if there were any redeeming features, but when I saw I still had an hour to go, I couldn't do it. I did finish 75% and honestly it just got worse as I read on...never have I read a book so filled with action which was so boring. I just couldn't care less...way too many wacky machinations and the charcters are 1 dimensional at best.

Like ... ouch. I'm a terrible writer. I can never write again! :0

Not everyone is ever going to like all your stuff. If that's going to bother you, you're going to have a rough time as a writer.

If you want an even more basic example, imagine telling a joke to your friends. Not every joke is going to make them laugh, and they're going to hate some of them. But that doesn't mean you should stop telling jokes! And even negative feedback (in most cases, at least) offers clues to how you can improve.

Offline Lanko

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Re: Work Critiqued?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2016, 03:29:46 PM »
I enjoyed reading the bashings I received more than the praise, actually. Maybe I'm a bit of a masochist, though. But bad critiques help you more, I believe, unless you get discouraged really easy.

It does have a... curious feeling, for lack of a better word, when you read your piece later and realize "I don't think this part of that is actually good" or "wow, this was actually bad", then someone comes and says that too, but points it more eloquently than you could.

Also, bad parts/plot holes/mistakes in books annoy me and sometimes I talk about them with others, so if I actually do something bad like this and someone points out, I'm actually grateful for them and pissed off at myself for not noticing it. It's always striving for the better.
Slow and steady wins the race.

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Offline Nora

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Re: Work Critiqued?
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2016, 03:36:25 PM »
Great critics are also good. I mean, I love when someone quotes a specific line and tell me they loved it, while I never considered it to be the best in the text. Everyone has their own point of view, and such examples help me to remember all is relative.
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline Rostum

Re: Work Critiqued?
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2016, 03:36:55 PM »
Joe Abercrombie publishes his bad reviews