40

Ignore It. The anonymous person in question didn't understand the task. The objective is to criticize your writing, not to psychoanalyze you and recommend a therapy. It doesn't make a difference if your piece is dark, light, or gray, funny or somber. It makes no difference what sexual orientation you express, or political orientation, or anything else your ...


34

I'm fond of the following quote from Neil Gaiman: Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. You're the cook, they're the diner. If they don't like the taste of the omelet, you can't tell them ...


25

I'll give my two cents, as someone who feels the same struggles. You'll never get completely over the fear of rejection, or of not being good enough. I say this because even accomplished authors reported the same fear. Brandon Sanderson said, in an episode of the podcast Writing Excuses, something along the likes of "Yes, the last book was a success, but ...


22

Assuming that by "non-readers" you mean "people who are not fans of the genre you write", they can be useful beta-readers. Here are some points for you to consider, in no particular order. Being used to certain genre conventions, you might no longer notice when those conventions have some inherent logical failure. For example, being used to D&D, you ...


21

First of all, as a simple metric, your use of the word 'that' is 50% higher than my own (I have 930 occurrences in 100K words.) I've tried to minimize 'that' in my writing. It's one of the words that can be pruned out in revisions without losing meaning (like the word 'just')--and as a side benefit the pacing of the writing is often better. And, as another ...


17

Say you wrote a piece that was about something wonderful that had happened to you. A piece that exuded happiness and contentment. Someone—probably the very same person you discuss in your question—is going to comment, "How can you be so happy all the time? What is wrong with you? Don't you know people are suffering in the world?" It's not critique vs ...


14

Ironically, you are basically asking another writer's group by posting here! In general, writing should be tight, and not repetitive. Using "unremarkable" four times in one paragraph might be warranted if the point is to use it for emphasis. But every place you can eliminate connective words like "that" or "the" you should; it makes the text easier to read, ...


10

My top recommendation is this: Identify what the story is attempting to do. Different stories are different creatures. "I'm pretty sure I know how this ends!" can be a harsh indictment for a mystery story, or excited anticipation for a romance. "You've really invested in this character's backstory" can be great for an intimate melodrama -- or a major drag ...


10

This answer is specifically from my personal experience rather than objective reasoning. I think it very much depends on the actual person and their individual abilities rather than whether they read a lot or read at all in your genre. I avoid using friends and family as beta readers even though they read prolifically and in my genre. The reason is two-...


10

You can ask people for advice/ constructive criticism at any stage of writing, but I would refrain from giving beta readers huge chunks of text at a time (like 40k words) unless they're professionals. Usually, I divide my work into manageable units that kind of make sense on their own - chapters, short stories, etc, and ask people to give me feedback. Ash'...


9

In Software Engineering, a common practice for fixing difficult bugs is called "Hallway debugging". The programmer will go out in the hall and grab the first person he sees and get them to help solve the problem. Since they are not likely to be familiar with the program the programmer is trying to write, he'll have to explain, line-by-line, what his code ...


9

I tend to judge stories on the success of their theme. Characters create relatable and enviable anchors to follow through a story, while Plot is the sequence of story beats that are arranged to invoke and subvert reader expectations. Characters are usually a relatable hook, and plot is constructed to entertain, but the theme is a larger overall effect of ...


9

Is size alone the only difference in such approaches? My answer: It's not about size, it's about a sense of scale. Short pieces are like snacks; easily eaten and digested. A bad one will leave a bad aftertaste in your mouth; a good one will leave you wanting for more, or, if it's really good, make you wonder at the writer's ability that condensed so many ...


9

Several thoughts to consider: There is no reason to expect an agent's opinion to be a better assessment of your writing than a beta reader's opinion. Agents are business people. They pay their mortgages by finding the manuscripts that will sell, and then selling them for the best price they can. The manuscripts that will sell are those that the public is ...


9

The first thing you need to realise is that the advice from AuthorHouse needs to be taken with a very large grain of salt - they are a vanity press which expect you to pay to have your book published, unlike the more traditional publishing houses. Therefore it is in their benefit for you to stick with them, regardless of the quality of your book. Not ...


9

Answer #1 is a comment/question: Can you ask them the sorts of books/stories they'd each recommend to help you calibrate your extremity? that might be the sort of info that can point you in the direction you should go, because it may tell you which reader is naturally in tune with your intent. Answer #2: I think your experience is common. Science ...


8

It depends on the context Code reviews can be done for various reasons and the way to write one it heavily dependent on the purpose. Some of the reasons you might write a code review: As part of a Software Quality Process As a formal deliverable to management or customers As quality assurance measure As an answer on Code Review Stack Exchange As an ...


8

I studied literature at school, and the most important thing I learnt is that the obejctive of a poet is to transmit something, whether an idea or a feeling. To do so, the poet uses a range of techniques to craft their poem. While reading, one can experience the idea or feeling in a leisurely way, at an instinctive level, or one can dive into the poem and ...


8

The main thing to remember about critiquing somebody's writing is to not critique the person. What the piece is about is not a topic for criticism; what you think it says about the person that wrote it is not a topic for criticism. If they write something dark and depressing, a writing critic must assume that this is the intended effect and critique it on ...


7

Write a synopsis. Then get feedback on that. Your synopsis should be as brief as possible, conveying only the elements that are absolutely crucial to the story - the elements without which the story would be absolutely different. If you were summarizing the first Harry Potter book, you don't need to say "and then he went to a Potions class, and then he went ...


7

Things that are good are things which you liked, and elements which achieved what the writer was going for. Funny bits: anything which makes you laugh (which is clearly supposed to) Nice turns of phrase A moment which touches you A suspenseful scene which leaves you tense and breathless A protagonist you understand A character who is complex and rounded ...


7

Are “non-readers” useful beta readers? I don't think so. People that don't read, don't enjoy reading. They don't like that kind of fiction, they don't know what is good and bad, it is all bad from their POV because they aren't comfortable reading for that long, they need glasses they don't have (I know three people that don't read because it hurts their ...


7

Professional writers can write pages of exposition without a problem, this is not too much, and 3 times as much would not be too much. As a matter of critique; you are weakening your prose with too many fudge factors and emphasizers: with "usually", "more often than not", "Try as she might", "simply", "sometimes .....


7

I think that the biggest problem here is that this was not critique. It was unconstructive criticism. That reader didn't enjoy the mood you set in your piece. That is fine. There are styles of writing I don't enjoy. There are times I don't want to read certain moods. But I don't criticize them for existing in a way that doesn't speak to me. That's not how ...


7

Emotional impact. While critical analysis could get into a lot of factors - structure, vocabulary, form, relations to events and culture, use of poetic language forms, rhythm, flow, themes, all these things that comprise a poem, they are all secondary, and a simple, crude, primitively written couplet can sometimes have a much stronger impact than the most ...


7

I have my own three-part rubric I've used for years for critiquing any creative project: Craft: How skillful is it? What command of the technical basics does the creator have? In terms of poetry, if it is a formal poem, does it meet all the rules? If the rules are broken, are they broken for good reason? Is it presented well, and in a way that is free ...


7

What if I am really not that good? Read a few guides on how to write. When you get to the point of thinking, "this one has nothing new", you've read enough. Make succinct notes on the X-not-Y points they make. (You'd be amazed how few there are in whole books on this subject, partly because it takes a lot of text to explain, defend and exemplify a point.) ...


6

Interactive feedback can be great - ask Arthur Conan Doyle or any other great serial writer - but you'll want to be fairly thick skinned, particularly if you're posting on the internet. Interactive feedback on your story is one thing, but what you're suggesting later in the post sounds more like writing by committee. It's a valid thing, but if you go that ...


6

You are being too sensitive. Most critique was fine and constructive, but one paper that I got back really made a negative impression on me The only objective truth is the number which were constructive verses the number which were negative. 1 is a statistical anomaly. There is no way to determine if this source is reliable, distracted, attempting to "...


6

I can't say I cope well with rejection. That said, I query in small batches, so I can revise my query (and sample pages) as I go, if rejected. I have books and online resources for how to write query letters (and how to write books), I will revisit them and double-check to see if I have missed anything, made mistakes, left anything out or can think of anyway ...


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