Dealing With Criticism

Discussion in 'Author Discussions' started by Rival, Feb 9, 2020.

  1. Rival

    Rival Active Member

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    As an author, criticism comes along with the job description. Good, bad, useful, useless, all sorts of criticism is given. I'm not going to lie, criticism kind of makes me lose motivation to write even if I even enjoy the story. Once that motivation is gone, it's practically impossible to regain which leads to a lot of original fictions being left unfinished/dropped regardless of the number of people that enjoy the fiction. The common answers are 'to toughen up', or 'to disregard it', but in all honesty, it's not that simple for most people. My question to you guys, is how do you deal with criticism? This question has been bugging me ever since I dropped my very first fiction I wrote because of my inability to handle criticism. After a few years, I have realized that I am running out of novels that I enjoy and I want to start writing stories in my own vision. To be honest I'm kind of scared... my first fiction was fairly popular gaining over 600 thousand views, but I dropped it because of my own incompetence. I don't want that to happen again. Before I fully commit to starting something, I need to know if I can stand strong against the fact that I'm only human and I WILL make mistakes.
     
  2. elengee

    elengee Daoist Ninefaps

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    Kill the chicken to scare the monkeys, first troll gets shanked. :aww:
     
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  3. phucanhcr02

    phucanhcr02 Well-Known Member

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    Flame the shit out of them for fun!!!!!!!!!
     
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  4. Noea

    Noea Member

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    Dont read the comments till you finish the story
     
  5. Kalto

    Kalto [ Somewhat meticulous ]

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    If you got 600thousand views and readers who enjoy your novel then that means you got supporters in a sense, so if you want motivation think of them (unless you are in a slump or procrastinating or preparing for a new novel or something along those lines, then that is another matter), just keep in mind that there are those who simply like to demotivate others and lie for no reason (they also might not be fans of the genre(s) of novel you are writing so they are trying to lower your motivation and discourage other readers from trying your novel) :blobsweat:
     
  6. frozenlimabeans

    frozenlimabeans Well-Known Member

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    Criticism is sometimes hard to deal with and it's not exactly something you could ignore or get used to overnight.

    But the fact ur getting criticism shows that ur novel is gaining traction, lovers and haters who want go either pull you up or push you down.

    And I think you are strong enough since after all you are asking instead of letting everything fester.

    In my case, I dealt with criticism by thanking the critic, it didnt matter if the criticism was good or bad. I would try to fix the story up a bit and see how it goes, if I dont like it, I would change it in the future. Theres no reason to go completely with people's opinion, even me as i give this advice.

    Good luck on your future/current novels (recommend them to me, I would like to read some. I'm novel deprived as of now)
     
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  7. RR Vocaloid

    RR Vocaloid RoyalRoad.com Slepragt

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    It’s all about trying to maintain your mindset while writing.

    Sometimes criticism can be used to help improve yourself, or fuel yourself with snarkiness/insulting your own work in a bid to help keep writing.

    It’s the same with positive feedback.

    The issue is when either of these factors you off course enough to where you aren’t comfortable writing anymore. You start to have doubts about the story’s direction, want to write other things that fit your original image more, the image in mind changes so you feel like redoing everything from scratch. It all gets under your skin and writing becomes a chore. And one can never be without excuses to not do chores.

    I wrote a story about a rock as a joke, 250 word chapters. I was filled with snarkiness and stress from college to create a sarcasm infused story about an ordinary rock. 100 thousand views.

    It got so hyped I got excited. I couldn’t write the story the same anymore with a whole different mood but kept trying and failing. I couldn’t even write 250 words, barely 15 minutes or less of effort and dropped the story, then tried rewriting a part, then dropped it again. Positive feedback, not even negative, destroyed my story.

    I’ve basically dropped every single story idea since and got dozens more in my notes never posted stretching hundred thousands of words. So, I can’t really offer sound advice, but I guess it would be best for you to try writing shorter stories to practice endings, story structure, and experiment with different plots so that you can better yourself before doing a larger project again.

    I’m personally trying to write an entire story to completion before posting it so as to not be effected by any feedback, but it’s hard going without some feedback to motivate and also busyness irl getting in the way.
     
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  8. Olives

    Olives Well-Known Member

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    The problem with other humans is that when they see something good, they also want to be a part of it. That leads to some odd people.

    If people are criticizing you on things that you handled poorly (plot seemed way too convenient to the point of stupidity, bland garbage characters, etc), that probably means that they've compared your work to others they've seen (which is fine; that's how evaluating works), and think that you're worthy of a comment. It might not feel good to get criticized, and people on the internet are pretty damn blunt, but they probably mean well. probably

    I'm probably not the best source of info anyways, usually the good ol' "I don't care" is my way of life.

    If you want people to really look at your problem there's a game on steam called "Kind Words" (It's like 6$ CDN), and you can send your worry anonymously out to the world, and somebody'll probably take the time (hopefully) to help you.
     
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  9. justmehere

    justmehere Well-Known Member

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    Do you think the river is better if it is straight or curvy?
     
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  10. jinxs2011

    jinxs2011 [Rebel Against Normality][Writer of the Unusual]

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    Make sure to have a positive attitude, and write a reply. If you find it difficult or start writing a reply in a rage-filled frenzy, put it down, take a break, sleep on it, whatever it takes to get that out of your system. Then reply to the comment in a polite, calm manner. Address all their points, admit when they're right, explain when they're wrong, thank them for it if it was particularly enlightening or interesting commentary.

    I've found that a lot of the time - not all of the time obviously, because there are some people who are just douches - that they probably wrote their comment in a rage as well. If you're calm about it, it can make them calm about it as well, and then you can have a constructive discussion, instead of a flame war where each person just shouts their view at the other person and insults them.

    Sometimes, I've even found that there are comments that aren't worded at all nicely, but they do make some good points that shouldn't be ignored just because of the tone they were surrounded by. But if the conversation isn't constructive, even if it's still written in a bad tone, by their second reply, cut it off there. Make it clear that you won't entertain inanities. They're a waste of time and emotion.

    Take all criticism into consideration. Think, again in a calm manner, whether or not it is justified and valid, and whether or not you should make changes to accommodate that. Then, if you decide that it's justified/valid but you won't be changing it, explain why. If it's not justified, explain why.

    If they aren't understanding, and are toxic, then leave it at that. It isn't worth your time. If they aren't toxic and can get a good dialogue going, well, then, aren't they just helping you make the story better? And what could be better than that?

    One of my stories has almost nothing but criticism on it. It's not great for my morale writing that story, to be sure. But, at the same time, there are quite a few people on there with whom I managed to discuss and question about exactly what might be done to improve it, what they didn't like or understand, and that was good.
     
  11. Dgsmasta

    Dgsmasta Well-Known Member

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    Write all haters on the death note.:blobpeek:
     
  12. lnv

    lnv ✪ Well-Known Hypocrite

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    Hmmm... I'm not aware of any living person who criticized me so its hard to say... they all end up disappearing never to be heard from again for some reason.... :blobcat_knife:

    But all seriousness aside, the way I handle criticism is to make use of it to improve my story. It's all a matter of trying to view things from their perspective, and in doing so my story can improve as well.

    Of course this only works if the other side is willing to engage in a conversation so that you can get where they are coming from. That doesn't always mean that the conversation will end with me agreeing to their criticism or them agreeing to my counter arguments. But at the very least in bouncing my ideas and understanding where they are coming from, I can feel more confident in my own writing. If I do notice flaws in my writing, then I strive to improve them.

    The downside to this is I got nothing against those people who just leave generic comments or not willing to engage. Those can be demoralizing but then I just go reread some positive comments to get motivation and move on.
     
  13. kkgoh

    kkgoh Well-Known Member

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    Agreed with @frozenlimabeans and @RR Vocaloid.

    Criticism is very important as a form of feedback. You don't get to pick and choose which ones you want.

    I would focus on the constructive feedback, the ones that aren't JUST pointless complaints but give suggestions for improvement. I try to incorporate that kind of feedback in my novel reviews these days.

    It's also important to understand what people are really complaining about, since most people can't be bothered to give suggestions. e.g. someone who complains about a boring generic protagonist may really be hinting that readers prefer more edgy, cunning anti-heroes, etc.

    This approach has been very helpful for my work in real estate. It's incredibly difficult to please property buyers, who complain about everything from price, to space, to layout, to decor. It's especially annoying when there's a lot of money at stake, but it's a necessary learning process. And I've learned to tailor my work to ensure I meet 70% of the demand, since I know it's impossible to please everybody.
    Note that this % number may differ depending on the genre you're writing since there's a much larger range of audiences. Even satisfying 50% of your target audience may be satisfactory. You don't have to write a Harry Potter and target for universal appeal.
     
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  14. Vanidor

    Vanidor Well-Known Member

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    You can kind of sort criticism into sections, helpful, not helpful, helpful to someone that isn't you.
    Helpful = points out some way you can improve like grammar or characterization

    Not helpful = just vague trash talk, or they don't like your type of story and got there by mistake(theirs or yours in describing/selling your story)

    Helpful to someone that isn't you = Things like "faster pacing, this drags and is too boring" can be helpful but usually it means they want you to write like someone else or write a different story entirely

    It's hard to sort "Helpful" from "Helpful to someone that isn't you. Maybe you are taking too long on something or your writing is boring in a spot, but maybe they wanted to read an action novel with romance and your slice of life romance wasn't right for them.

    They took the time to leave you a comment and it is worth considering it. Just be sure whatever you write you still like.
     
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  15. zduino

    zduino Well-Known Member

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    You can always ask a friend to filter through comments for you. I find its better to get needed comments that are constructive every once in while from a friend who supports me vs. letting the pressure from the fire hose (aka the internet) extinguish my creativity.
     
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  16. ATrueStory

    ATrueStory Villainesses, Historical Shit, Noble Circuses

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    Flame and troll. Sometimes I use a throwaway account just to annoy people who annoy me. Some people think just because they have a platform they can throw shit at something they didn't figuratively bleed, cried and sweat over.

    I really really suggest a good support system, whether it is your family, friends, co-workers, writing friends whatever. I know that yeah, some readers and their comments should not be taken to heart but there are days when you're bogged down and it's easier to be exposed to shallow comments and 'criticism'. As writers, we should have a thick skin but support shouldn't be discounted. We're all humans and we're also vulnerable at times.

    or

    Unplugged formt hsoe readers and hit the ignore/block button. It might be petty but some readers are just asking for it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2020
  17. Ixcez

    Ixcez Intergalactic Xanthic Custom Error Zone

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    Usually the most outspoken ppl are a minority. For instance I recently decided to post a story and just go with it to see how it goes and at the same time practice my writting. I just posted it a few weeks back and I've got almost 3000 views on it but only 7 ppl have started to follow it. I did however get a message today that the story was added as a recommendation on the sites free reading block. I however have so far gotten 0 comments on the story except for some dude posting he wants to be my editor twice for some reason.

    Before this I posted the premise of a story on another site to ask for feedback and I seriously got some heavy criticism and trolling about my grammer, wordings, sentence building etc when I had over and over stated that they were to overlook that since the whole point was to give an overview of the story and how it would go. Coupled with the fact that the specific story would not actually be written in English but my main language. Somehow that kinda crushed my will to write at the time, but then I realized that who actually gives a **** about what a few netizens think or comment about my story. First of I am not an aspiring author and instead I am doing writing as a hobby and also a way to practice. So who cares what someone thinks about it? At least this is how I see it.

    If you on the other hand are looking to be an author or aspire to make a living out of writing then feedback and criticism can matter however it has to be constructive. For instance if you wanna write a ton of sex scenes or a huge harem and enjoy it while getting a lot of reads then go for it. If the criticism then is uhh I hate harem drop this. Then don't care about it if on the other hand someone states oh the sex scenes are becoming very repetitive or the harem members are just becoming copies of each other then perhaps you really need to think about it since it can negatively affect your story. If you notice that your losing views/followers in large amounts then you have to look at what the problem is, in that case reading comments might help but at the same time it might be something else so it might simply be better to try to identify the problem yourself. Perhaps its that your releases have been to slow, or perhaps you've released to much, maybe this arc is just not working out, maybe your character/characters did something that pissed ppl of.

    One story that I personally dropped had not so much to do with the story itself but more with the author. So while it might be fun to go bash out at the readers who make comments try not to feed the trolls or be a troll yourself. In my case I had been an avid follower that both just did comments to thank and hopefully make him keep writing but also gave what I hoped to be constructive feedback/criticism both when the author asked for it or when I felt it was needed. However the author eventually went and created a needy/clingy character that in my book was 10 times more clingy/needy then a previous character the author had gotten a lot of hate for and asked why ppl hated on the character which I had written a comment to give feedback on why that might be. Anyways the new character resulted in me giving what I hoped to be constructive criticism since the character was gettin a ton of screen time while the MC seemingly broke all their own rules and established personality to cater to this new character. The result was the author gave in my opinion a few flimsy reasons and eventually started to troll me in the discussion and comment section, as I continued reading I simply realized (this is purely my opinion/speculation) that it wasn't the MC who liked the character but the author and anything bad said about that character would either inspire a backlash in the comment section or he would twist parts in the story to highlight why the MC would cater to that character specifically as clear response to my or others comments since it would often focus on things I or someone else had pointed out or asked about. All in all my point here is to point out that this in my book is a bad way to respond to criticism since it can make readers like myself turn away. At the same time losing me and perhaps someother readers might not mean a thing in the long run, it can however turn toxic in the comment section or else if this is handled poorly.

    To end my overly long comment, don't feed the trolls, let most criticism go in one ear and out the other unless its actually contructive or helpful. Readers like myself will want somethings but you as the author has the right to decide how the story goes. If you like gore filled yaoi harems then write that if some readers don't want romance then so what? Other readers will like that they just might not be as outspoken but as long as you get views your doing something right. If you have trouble reading about criticism then why not just disable comments or use a platform where it is impossible to leave comments?
     
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  18. iceberglue

    iceberglue New Member

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    although people will always have criticism of work because of the fact it's art. As an author it can be tough. It kind of comes with the popularity of the author or series. because it's popular and more people see it, there will be the criticism along with it. I know it's hard, but the best thing to do is take whatever the criticism is and say "Atleast they are talking about it" because if they are talking about it, they are focusing on it. There are many who don't like one piece and bash it uncontrollably, but that equates to the millions of people that love one piece.
     
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  19. imK

    imK Artful Dodger

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    I know what constructive criticism looks like.
    I know what well-meaning, yet unhelpful criticism looks like.
    I know what hate comments look like.

    I disregard the third immediately. The second kind gets a quick once over, because sometimes there are aspects I hadn't considered. The first kind gets a more thorough read through and I decide case by case whether it is relevant or not. If it's something I need to change. If I don't, I don't. One of the highest selling stories I ever wrote as a ghostie got my client some of the most scathing negative reviews they've had to date. The same client has also had glowing reviews for another work I did for them. Sold maybe 1/5 of the amount of the hated piece.

    Take reviews in perspective. If you are consistently getting criticism for basic things like punctuation, spelling and grammar: look into it. If it's mindless venting a la "You're the worst, this sucks, set yourself on fire", move on. If they're rude and snarky with their feedback - block if you can, then move on. People often mistake the right to have an opinion with the right to be a dick about it. You don't have to respect that. Whether you're writing to market or writing it just to share my answer is the same. Write as well as you can and put out something you can be proud of. You'll be fine as long as you work diligently, intelligently and learn from your work as you go.
     
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  20. Respy

    Respy Member

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    If they are criticizing just because they want to criticize or because they want to troll just don't care about them because there is a %60 percent chance that they didn't even fully read the story or the chapter they criticized. If they are criticizing to let you know your mistakes and give you a chance to correct them then it just means that you have good readers because they are reading the story carefully.
    (Btw, if they are trolls then this means you managed to achieve something that those trolls couldn't and they are just frustrated about it. Don't care about what they write and try to find the latter type of readers' comments to improve yourself.)