Taylor_McCutcheon's AdviceA Lesson by C. Rose
Three solid pieces of advice brought to you by Constructive Critics member Taylor_McCutcheon.
“The content is encouraging and helpful to writers. There are a few sections that I am unsure about.The section beginning with "these people are often heard saying" I don't really think needs to be there. You sort of covered what a person who doesn't accept/ want reviews is like in the paragraph above. I also think the beginning could use some work.
My suggestion would be to actually begin the article with a review and later state that 'this is an example of a constructive review.'
By the way, I think a cyber-genetic space vampire mermaid sounds like a great idea! ;)
Courtesy of the Constructive Critics Group”
That is what you call a Constructive Critique. Every writer gets them and every writer needs them. A critique is a review from another writer/reader/family member or anyone else with ears, eyes, and an opinion of your writing. We need them to improve and grow as writers. Do you think JK Rowling and Stephen King got as far as they did without a few opinions thrown their way?
Without critiques we are often blind to our faults and spend much of our time pitching to agents with half-baked stories. Without critiques we skip over our grammar, spelling, plot, and character problems without a second notice. This is unfair to our writing and ourselves as writers.
The sad truth of it though, is there are often many writers who don’t want critiques for their work. They don’t want to know what is wrong with their writing and refuse to change a thing about it. They either feel like failures if you point out their faults, give up all together because they feel they suck, or they’re just plain hard-headed and won’t change their “perfect” work.
The best way to avoid becoming one of these people, (or to change if you are one of these people) is to do a few simple things.
1. Don’t take it to heart:
People often take reviews to heart as personal insult to their intelligence. They think if we say we don’t like their work, we don’t like them as a person. That’s not the case. We review your work because we want to see you improve. We would love nothing more than to see your work on the shelves of a Barnes N Noble. Remember, we’re just trying to help.
2. Learn from reviews:
If someone tells you you need to “show and not tell”, look through your work and see where you can improve on that. If someone tells you you’re placing your commas in the wrong spots, look up where commas go. Learn from the advice people give you. No one is telling you to agree with every single piece of advice you receive, but you should at least listen and see if it’s something you agree with. Everyone can improve somewhere.
3. Read work from your reviewer
Let’s face it, not everyone claiming to know what they are talking about truly, ‘knows what they are talking about’. After you obtain a review, be sure to read some of their writing as well. If they tell you your character seems boring, but their main character is another Jane Doe, I wouldn’t take them as serious as someone else who had an interesting character and plot. Of course, not all editors are good writers but, if the only person telling you your plot needs reworking is someone who writes like a three year old, I’d wait until someone else said anything before making major plot changes. Message them privately and ask for clarification if you are confused or unsure about their review.
For the sake of someone saying, “but what if they are just being a jerk.” There are exceptions. Many of the people I’m referring to react this way toward any critique, good, bad, or in-between. There are differences between a critique from someone trying to help, and someone who is just plain mean. Some of the differences can apply to what they are focusing on. A critique would sound similar to “you have some spelling errors”, where a hateful review would be someone saying “this sucks.” See the difference? Even if the reviewer just isn’t that into your ‘Cyber genetic, space vampire, mermaid’ story they can still say so without coming across as a tool. One way is to just say “this isn’t my thing. Sorry”, a harmful way would be saying “This is dumb and will never get published.”
Remember, good reviews are only meant to be helpful, never harmful, so don’t take them to heart, don’t think they are an attack and don’t block anyone who gave a review you didn’t agree with. This is not only hurtful to your reviewer who was only trying to help, it’s also very rude.
Keep reviewing and keep writing.
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Added on May 7, 2014
Last Updated on May 7, 2014
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