Writing Advice: Handling Criticism

I really hate listening to people tell me how to write because…no. No, that’s my book get your hands off it. No, they don’t understand that this is the perfect order for the words to go in, of course it can’t be changed. I get angry about it. At them and their lesser thoughts on my work and more to the point…angry at myself.

I know that I am not perfect (despite what I may want to think of myself) but accepting that people can know more about how to write my story is hard. And I don’t want to believe I’m the only one, (please don’t let my superiority complex be that bad), so I’ve gathered a list of helpful advice that I have taken on from my experiences.

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Take some time: when I receive feedback, the moment before I hear it or read it I go through so many emotions: fear, anger, sickness, the reckless need to punch something. If you try and work out the feedback while still feeling emotional and defensive about it, you’ll just throw away the advice without taking it in properly.

The best thing to do is to save that feedback and wait until you are ready to process it. It is only then you’ll be able to see what is useful for you.

Define the underlying and larger problems: I am lucky to know that I need to focus more on plot structure rather than line edits. But feedback can really help you realise the larger problems not only with your manuscript, but also in your writing in general. For example, I find it really hard to give exposition and actually explain concepts to the reader.

I think its intrigue, my editor says it’s alienating. Now I can’t fix my writing style overnight, but understanding and accepting this as a problem my writing faces is important.

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It isn’t always gospel: Sometimes it’s very easy to think in the opposite direction, that of course these writer buddies and beta readers obviously are right about everything, you are a terrible writer who of course needs to listens to the great advice of ‘needs love triangles. You, again, must take a step back. Beta readers are just as human as you. They have their own biases and flaws. If you take a moment to think if going on their advice will actually help your story as a whole rather than just make one person happy with the story.

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