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Bad Editorial Romances

By , Audubon, NJ
So the other day I was giving my opinion on somebody's work. It was nice, but I had some suggestions I wanted to make. However, when she replied back, she came off as defensive, and seemed angry at me. Ever since, she has not spoken to me.

This is also what confuses me: she asked for a swap and I said okay and warned her that I could be harsh. Everything went fine until she received my critique.

So it got me thinking, 'Why did she want a swap? I warned her and she seemed okay.' It confused me, but then I suddenly make connections to when a ex-friend, who I respected as constructive and is a brilliant writer, bashed me on my story, saying it was a worthless piece of trash and I should just throw it away in a VERY violent matter. (Jeez I wish I could make font bigger, underline, bold and much more on inkpop. Yes, it was that bad.) I did not eat for at least three days after in my depression. And this was awhile ago by the way, not recently.

After that I felt very hypocritical and contradictory and decided to apologize since I have been in her shoes before and hoped I wasn't violent like my ex-friend. She did not respond.

Then I looked at some of the comments on my last thread, The Provoking Truth of Critics and two people were debating about constructive criticism. One said, 'For me, there's no such thing as a critique or review being too aggressive.' Another said, 'I do like harsh reviews it tells me how to improve, but if all I get is negativity with a word of kindness, it get a little bummed.' To be honest with you, I agree with both.

As two different people perfectly put it: 'The trick is to remember there's a person at the other end.' and, 'I retype everything, and my reviews are usually 1-2 pages long. I wouldn't do that if I didn't care, or want the project to succeed.'

Basically, what this thread is about it constructive criticism. Sometimes I read something and I feel I have to find everything wrong with it just to say, 'Your work is not perfect,' and always feel stupid that I am a bad critic since I can only see the good. I am a hard-core cynical person and I have no willingness to change my ways so I guess that is why it stings much worse. And then I feel that something isn't too great and all I want to say is, 'THIS SUCKS!' But that's unprofessional, disrespectful, and unthoughtful, as someone commented, 'Rude is aggressive but lacking professionalism. I don't want to see cussing in my comments, or vulgar jokes, or usage of words like "sucks," "lame," "dumb," or "retarded." That is so uncool'. So I find a different way to state the same point.

Critics Part of the Crime:

Critiques should take time and be used to benefit the writing, not to attack the write because of envy/hating them/whatever stupid game you're playing/etc. For instance, I do not just say, 'Oh whatever,' and write whatever comes to mind. I read it at least three times and then do my critique and then review it, take a break to see if anything comes to mind, read it again, and re-write it. It usually takes about an hour to write my best critique for you. And that's just a poem; it's ridiculous when it comes to books per chapter. I see many people doing this, and it's much better than, 'that's great. omg, <3 mc. good luck!'

However, most people's and my weak point I guess is the lack of being particular and specific through the text. I may say, 'Spelling is very messy,' but I don't say what words are spelled wrong, which I should work on. I also wish my editors did that like, 'Awkward sentences,' but where are they? Are they in dialogue or description? Details, details, details!

Also, the delivery of messages should be professional and thoughtful, not bashing or violent, because that's attacking, not critiquing constructively. It also shouldn't be carefree and vulgar, since then you probably don't give a darn about the composition. I have received both, and I have been frustrated and upset, even when I shouldn't have. It wasn't the content itself; I agreed 110% with it but the way it was delivered ruined everything.

Writer's Part of the Crime:

When people asked to swap on here, they should be ready to tolerate the worst possible comment. Even if it shouldn't have been delivered to you that way, you have to tolerate it. Use it as a learning experience. You have to be willing to accept opinions and not be hurt. Most of the time, when you get the review, it's not your personally, just the content of your work. They want the book to be best as possible. However, I will say some just like to insult or don't care enough, and before can hurt and be frustrating. You can't take it to heart, no matter how close you are to your novel. This is about the novel/short story/poem/etc, not you. That is what a counselor is for.

Critics: delivery your critique honestly but with professionalism and thought. Writers: be willing to accept opinions on your work and don't take it to heart.

Concerned or with questions? Message me about it. Again, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy.

A side note: to whoever it was as used as an example above, and you know who you are, do not be offended. Many people do this as said above. Also, I am using myself as a bad example, not, 'Oh you should all be like me.' Don't.





Join the Discussion

This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Rosa223 said...
Jun. 24, 2010 at 10:36 pm
I really liked your article about the criticizm. I'd also appreciate it if you check out some work i want to post on here soon, and I will promise you : I don't mind harsh criticizm. Yes it will help me improve and get better. Great work!
 
kjanco7 replied...
Jun. 25, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Sure, and I appreciate your comment! It might take me a bit though; can you wait a few days? Thanks!

-kjanco7

P.S. And to critique you, you spelled critism wrong. There is no z in that word.

 
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