- Moderation. Taking criticism is like getting a tattoo; sometimes it’s easier to do a bit at a time so we don’t pass out from the pain. Give each lesson a chance to set in before going further
- Be constructive. Offering criticism should be on a positive note. Saying, “This scene was boring,” doesn’t help as much as “this scene needs stronger verbs,” or “the pacing of the action was often broken by description or long dialogue.” And if you receive a criticism of the former kind, ask for some elaboration, or discuss it further so you can find out how to make it better
- Re-explaining rarely helps. A common response to “I didn’t get it” is the writer explaining the scene to that person, hoping that they will “get it.” That doesn’t help, unless that writer plans on going door-to-door, explaining that scene again to every reader. Rather, a writer can learn the most by saying, “Well, this is what I was going for: [brief summary] What was missing?” This starts the discussion mentioned earlier but in a positive direction.
- Opinions are not always criticisms. Here are some opinions: “That character is mean.” “The mood is pretty dark.” “Everything is hyper-sexualized.” There is nothing wrong with offering opinions such as these; they are the reader’s perspective. The problem starts when the recipient of these opinions did not intend to write about a mean person in a dark, sexy world, and takes them as criticisms. This can either degenerate into a useless argument with the writer insisting it’s a light-hearted young adult romance and the reader shaking their head in denial, or it can open the door for some questions: What elements felt dark? What actions were mean? How would you turn down the sexual volume?
All writers have a process that allows them to create. However, the art of "Writing" is often mistaken for that "Process." Hopefully this blog explains the difference, and inspires people to develop their crafts, become writers, or just keep on writing.