It's Saturday night. I'm hanging out with my husband, playing some video games. But this stupid little thing won't stop buzzing in the back of my head. As most of you know (and if you don't, you don't read my blog enough LOL) I joined an online work-shopping community at the beginning of this year. Don't worry, I still love it.... BUT DAMN. There are some people I just don't understand. Which is fine. But now, I've gotten mad.
Here's my conclusion: People don't want honest feedback, they want their hand held. And let me tell you, it's freaking annoying. (Not all people, but damn it's a whole lot).
I've found this out numerous ways, but let me tell you all the most recent. I was on a thread "discussing" self-published versus traditional publishing. I know what you're thinking People still talk about this age old drama inducing nightmare? Yes. Yes, they do. Not only do they talk about it, they whine and pretend like their ideas are gold. I have no qualms throwing my opinions out there, so I do. And you know what? People get all grumbly about it and it's annoying me!
I just want to throw something through my computer screen and scream, WHO GIVES A CRAP. Honestly, we have a thing called Google now. Why not Google it? Why do these people care what others authors are doing? Do what's right for YOU. I, in no way, think my route of self-publishing is "right" or "the only true way". But it works for me, for so many different reasons. But that's a completely different post for another day.
That's just the tip of the iceberg. Then I hear from a friend, who actually likes getting constructive critiques,, that he heard through the grapevine that I was blunt, rude, and I don't even know what else. Of course, he told me since I've done his whole novel and he trusts me to be honest. I went back into my critiques of her work and saw nothing aggressive. I am very constructive and feel like I put SO MUCH TIME into critiquing for others. I could easily find beta-readers, but I like helping other authors. And this is what I get? Hell no.
Here's the bottom line. There's a big different between constructive criticism and being a jerk. I know this because jerks have read my stuff. Not that I let it bother me, but still. You can tell when someone's being jealous/jerky/holier than thou versus when someone's just trying to help. The goal of a constructive critiquer is genuinely wishing well on others and offering feedback with the intent of improvement and helpfulness.
Sure, if I turned the tables, I don't want someone tearing apart my work. Writing is very personal. At the same time, I wouldn't want someone to tell me my chapter is amazing and needs to be published right away, when I know it's a first draft and most likely crap. Who does that help? Let me tell you: no one.
There's a line to be straddled when it comes to being a critic. You have to point out good things and bad things and try to make the work better. I don't hold back my emotions/feelings when reading something, because I wouldn't want to be treated that way. At the same time, I use thoughtful language and offer suggestions for the author.
NO LIE. I had a guy critique a chapter of The Last Legacy and I swear to god, he re-wrote the whole thing. I swear! I can't make this stuff up. The man literally would highlight my chapter, explain why he didn't like it, and then write it completely as his own work. Yet, I would never call him out on it. I liked his post and moved on. Which brings me to my next point.
Confidence in yourself. I think a lot of these people get so upset over receiving a harsh critique because they have no confidence in their work. You post your work on this site, so you obviously are under the impression you have the start of a good story. Yet once someone says, "I dislike your character because blah blah blah" they become emotional and hurt by it. Writing is so freaking subjective. You HAVE to go into it knowing that someone out there is going to hate it. It's just the way of life and how it goes for us authors. .
So many people disliked Ryder after reading The Thousand Year Curse. But I knew that I had an arc and plan for her over the next two books. So I took the criticism of her being weak and nodded and smiled. But knew I wouldn't use their suggestions of making her stronger. I had enough confidence in what I was doing to discard the criticism, not tear someone down for having an opinion. You have to have knowledge or maybe it's pride in what you do. Know you're freaking awesome, or at least think it.
Anyway, there's my rant. I feel a little bit better after writing everything down. I just wish people would be more open to listening to others and believing in themselves. It makes me frustrated. And grumpy. Now I will take out the remainder of my anger in video games.
PS. There's a huge giveaway going on over on my facebook page. Complete collection of all of my books ($85 value). All you have to do is share the post. Get over. Here's a link.