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message 1: by ShazzyLouLou (last edited Jul 04, 2012 05:28AM) (new)

ShazzyLouLou | 272 comments I haven't written anything before, but thought I'd give it a go.

Some of my fellow GR members have been very helpful and constructive with their critcism and suggestions, which is what I was after.

I also belong to www.reviewfuse.com which allows you to submit work for critique as long as you review others in return. Perhaps this was a mistake, but I wanted a completely unbiased reaction as I chat with and amongst my fellow GR reviewers regularly.

I've just received a really bad review rating my work as an average of 2/5 and has comments such as describing my dialogue as wretched and saying that the reader had already seen something like my story, but done better in Kate Beckinsale's Underworld movies.

Since he wasn't particularly constructive about why he felt the way he did, I know I should probably ignore the comments but it is hard.

Has anyone else received awful and completely depressing reviews? If you have, how did you deal with them?


Dr. George H. Elder (GeorgeElder) | 3 comments There are some reviewers who will kill your soul without any concern or regret. A good critic is a person who helps a writer get better by offering detailed advice and specific examples of weaknesses in your work. A lousy critic is someone who makes blanket statements--as in the dialogue is wretched. Hey, I have gotten one-star reviews before, included a recent one using the word "horrible." The reviewer was demaning and crude, but it is something we have to endure. Listen, if you're going to get bummed out about a 2/5 rating, you're in the wrong game. Yeah, it all hurts, and GoodReads has more than its fair share of harsh reviewers. But at the end of the day, take the specific advice and use it to become a better writer. Discard the nasty comments for what they are, the words of a person who seeks to do more harm than good--and there are lots of folks like that. This is all we can do as writers, although the pain is hard to tolerate.


ShazzyLouLou | 272 comments Dr. George H. wrote: "There are some reviewers who will kill your soul without any concern or regret. A good critic is a person who helps a writer get better by offering detailed advice and specific examples of weakness..."

Thanks Dr George. I think I was just shocked at how negative AND unhelpful it was. I can take criticism as long as it is constructive and helps me become a better writer. This though did nothing for me except as you say, bum me out!

Thanks for replying, pathetic as it sounds, I think I just wanted to make sure I wasn't alone!

:-)


message 4: by Whispers from the Pirate's Ghost (last edited Jul 05, 2012 11:53AM) (new)

Whispers from the Pirate's Ghost Whisper (PirateGhost) ShazzyLouLou wrote: "I haven't written anything before, but thought I'd give it a go.

Some of my fellow GR members have been very helpful and constructive with their critcism and suggestions, which is what I was after..."


A wise man once said, "Nobody can sit as judge and jury in their own case. You see, I do need you and you do need me. Imagine what kind of a world this would be if you had all of the answers to your problems and questions, and I had all the answers I needed.

What a horrible place this world would be.

You see, I wouldn't need you, but what's worse, you wouldn't need me, and I'd be usless."
(Father Martin)

The same wise man also said, "I once worked with a woman who was in an abusive relationship with an alcoholic. She came crying upset because her husband had said some very hurtful things to her.

"He called you a whore?" I said. She nodded.

"Well, are you one?" I asked.

"NO!" she said, almost coming out of her chair.

"Would you be so upset if he called you a chair?" I asked.

"Well, no." She answered, confused. "Because I'm not a chair."

"So, saying something doesn't make it true then does it!"


My point is this. If you want to be a better writer, you need feedback from someone other than yourself, and better yet, other than someone whom you are emotionally tied to (that might be afraid of hurting your feelings).

You should read and face what ever they say, consider it, even in it's most rude and unhelpful form and look for for any kernal of truth that you might use to improve your writing.

If your writing is like mine (not very advanced, nothing published, nothing finished and big in the "needs a little polishing" department), often the critiques contradict eachother. One person doesn't like the use of foul language, yet another person thinks that's the way it should be with this character group. Of this feedback you get to pick and choose, what appeals to you the most? Then work that direction.

Just because someone said it, does that make it true?

Of course it doesn't. There are a lot of people who really just want to be helpful, and, provide good feedback that you can use. There are some people you find that really just want to be helpful but, though some may sound intelligent and polished, in reality , they have no clue what would be helpful, so they just point out the flaws and hope you'll catch on. It feels good for them to participate, but they aren't aware that their participation isn't helping anyone or that it's painful.

And not everybody who is willing to read your work and provide feedback has an interest in helping you. All of these people have their own agenda which has more to do with working on their own image, as if overcome by the idea that the way they write a review determines how other people see THEM. These people, some of whom not only think they are being helpful, and may tell you the truth, are less concern with giving you good feedback than they are in the art of their own telling. These people live from cliche' to cliche' and are rarely helpful, though, when challenged, react like they helped the world learn to write, once upon a time, what's wrong with you?

And yes, sadly, there are those who know full well what they are doing, and take pervese pleasure in inflicting pain on others by ripping their work (and hopes) to shreds in a manner that, if not public, allows them to tell a story about how dealt with you. Glorifacation of themselves at the expense of others.

Generally, I would (and do) tend to read everything, even the unpleasant words, and look for things I've heard before, from other people, look for the things said about my writing that lurked as uncomfortable anxiety in the back of my head as I wrote, or read what I wrote, even if it served to me on a sword stabbed through my gullet.

And remember, I always try to remember, that, nobody will make me great, nor make me small, I'm in charge of that. Doctors don't "get you well" they write a prescription and I have to fill it. And yes, sometimes the doctors are wrong, even the specialists. And, no critique will write my story for me. I need honest feedback to improve my skill and the quality of my work. I am the one who will improve the quality of my writing, or I will not. and those who critique my work only provide me something to focus on so I don't stay trapped in the shadow of my own ego.

Even Phil Micklson and Tiger Woods need a swing coach don't they? To become the best golfers in the world, they relied on a man who has never won a pro-tournament at the level they play at, yet, that coach is someone with whom they have supreme confidence will tell them the truth.

What I'm getting at is this (in a nutshell): You can tell who is helping you improve, even if they rate you 2 out of 5 and who is not, even if they rate you 5 out of 5. Check it all out, bounce it against reality and keep what helps, toss away what doesn't.

And after you publish the book, then cry about the bad critiques from those wicked mean old people on the way to the bank.


message 5: by Ingrid, The Return Of Super Woman, Head Moderator (new)

Ingrid | 824 comments Mod
very useful advice. i didn't think of it that way


ShazzyLouLou | 272 comments Curmudgeon wrote: "ShazzyLouLou wrote: "I haven't written anything before, but thought I'd give it a go.

Some of my fellow GR members have been very helpful and constructive with their critcism and suggestions, whic..."


Hi Curmudgeon! You always give great advice, so thank you. I've had critical comments from others which I have taken on board and used to improve what I'm doing. Unfortunately this reviewer seems to fall in the "no interest in helping" section of reviewers, coupled with a little bit of "glorification of themselves at the expense of others."

I think it's just that when I'm asked to review something I try to be honest AND helpful. I was just shocked at just how unhelpful he had been.

Since I wrote this I've received another review from the same website. Again it wasn't 10/10 or anything, but the reviewer provided specific examples on a line by line basis of the issues she had and also provided advice about how to improve.

I spent last night writing the first round of revisions and today I feel much more positive about it all.

:-)


ShazzyLouLou | 272 comments I've just posted the 1st edit of chapter 1: http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/3...


Cassandra Stapleton (SirisAnkh) | 21 comments As bad as the comment is there is something helpful. The review pints at your dialog being awful. Have you taken a look at your dialog at a totally unbiased view and seen if you could have done something better? An unhelpful review like that stems from not liking something about your work. You just need not take it personal and find out why. Think of those reviews as people who can't articulate exactly what they don't like. Trashing g your work will always come but it's you who has to develop a thick skin.


ShazzyLouLou | 272 comments Thanks Cassandra. As I've said I don't mind criticism - in fact I welcome it. What I didn't like was there was nothing helpful about what he wrote. He gave no specific examples about what he didn't like or why. It felt like he'd only filled in the boxes because that was what he was required to do. (You get 3 reviews for every 4 that you write.)

I do take on board what he said about the dialogue and will revisit it, but just to say that something is bad without explaining why you think that way is completely unhelpful.
x


Cassandra Stapleton (SirisAnkh) | 21 comments That's how most bad reviews are. They just say it's bad and leave it at that. You could always revisit your work in a week and see if your perspective has changed. Because your working so closely with your work, you might not see the bad in it. It gives you a fresh view of your work.


ShazzyLouLou | 272 comments You're right of course. Some times I can't see the wood for the trees. I am revisiting all my current chapters though so hopefully something good will come of it. Maybe I'm a little naive but I just think if you can't find anything useful to say, then perhaps you shouldn't say anything at all. (You in general, not you specifically Cassandra :-) )


Whispers from the Pirate's Ghost Whisper (PirateGhost) ShazzyLouLou wrote: "You're right of course. Some times I can't see the wood for the trees. I am revisiting all my current chapters though so hopefully something good will come of it. Maybe I'm a little naive but I ..."

I think that's good advice for how to be helpful on a review, unfortunately, it's impossible to enforce. To me, that's trying to apply common sense and humanity to the transmitter (reviewer) when the transmitter is in someone elses control. You can't change the reviewer, if they aren't going to adapt a helpful critiquing practice then you aren't going to convince them to unless THEY want to improve. Pointing out how unhelpful their review was generally will get more of the same reviews that will be even less helpful.

I mean, does the radio station you want to listen to tune itself to the frequency you set your car's radio at or does it just do what it does and you tune your car radio to it?

You really don't have to take unhelpful things in a review if you don't want them. You really do get to pick and choose what you take from somebody else and determine for yourself how your going to apply those lessons in your writing.

You've been a teenager right? I'm betting you became very good at filtering your parents reviews of your behavior when listening to them. You can do the same thing here.

(and if you think you were the good one (teenager) that always listened to everything...wait till you have kids of your own! The Curse is always true..."they'll grow up just like you!" You'll see.)


message 13: by ShazzyLouLou (last edited Jul 06, 2012 05:36AM) (new)

ShazzyLouLou | 272 comments Curmudgeon wrote: "(and if you think you were the good one (teenager) that always listened to everything...wait till you have kids of your own! The Curse is always true..."they'll grow up just like you!" You'll see.) "


Ha ha! God I hope not! :-)


Whispers from the Pirate's Ghost Whisper (PirateGhost) ShazzyLouLou wrote: "Curmudgeon wrote: "(and if you think you were the good one (teenager) that always listened to everything...wait till you have kids of your own! The Curse is always true..."they'll grow up just like..."

Everyone with kids should watch Bill Cosby's stand up routine (though he sits for most of it) "Bill Cosby, Himself" early in parenthood and often.


ShazzyLouLou | 272 comments Thankfully I only have 3 very stupid dogs and a grumpy cat to contend with!


Whispers from the Pirate's Ghost Whisper (PirateGhost) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcLJm1...

When you have kids, this is the video to watch. (Most of the good stuff is in the second half).


ShazzyLouLou | 272 comments Righto - I'll bear it in mind.
Do the principles apply for silly animals I wonder....


Whispers from the Pirate's Ghost Whisper (PirateGhost) no, animals are far better than humans at "living in the moment," filtering sensory input to get what's important, and moving on with there lives without any baggage weighing them down.


Lucinda | 325 comments I am an amateur writer so any critique is useful, which i once recieved from an editor of a magazine company. What struck me was that her comments did not seem to be very constructive and just saying that 'no one would ever publish my writing' is slating but not helpful. I wanted to know how i could improve, especially as i have not begun a Journalism degree (so my knowlege currently on article writing is limited).

I am however greatful that someone in her position did read it, as despite her comments you are not always the best person to judge your own work & getting another indaviduals opinion is invaluable.
Lucinda x


June Summers (junesummers) | 2 comments Strangely enough I'm not too bothered about receiving flat-out negative comments. Of course I'm shocked at first, but in the end I am much more bothered by reviewers who hint at something constructive, like saying there are typo's or missing words, but don't give me any examples so I can correct them because I can't find them myself. :(


message 21: by Ingrid, The Return Of Super Woman, Head Moderator (new)

Ingrid | 824 comments Mod
I am so used to being downed all the time, getting a negative review (if i were able to write and publish a book) would be like routinely. the negatives usually turn into positives and keep me constructing my work into different styles and strategic falling actions and twists for my readers (in short stories, novellas, etc.)


ShazzyLouLou | 272 comments Steve wrote: "Doesn't it seem odd when "reviewers" routinely hand out 2 and 3 star ratings but give their own books 5 stars?"

Ha ha Steve! You make a very valid point!

I don't mind criticism, as long as its useful!


message 23: by Jessica, Moderator (new)

Jessica (jessicalynxo) | 967 comments Mod
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