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Madam'zelleG

Let's face it. Being an author isn't easy. We want feedback on what we write, but sometimes that feedback can be really difficult to accept.

We pour our heart and soul into our work. It's our baby. We love it, and we hold it in a place that's close to our heart. And we want to know what other people think. Or we think we do. We're very attached to our creations, and we tend to become fragile when it comes to criticism.

Recently, I became a member of Scribophile, an online community dedicated to concrit. While browsing around the site, I came across these few rules that I felt I just had to share with everyone.

1. Don't Take It Personally: Critiquers aren't trying to attack you, to purposely hurt your feelings, or to get you down. They don't even know who you are.They're telling you what they honestly think of your writing because they genuinely want you to improve.

2. Be Grateful: Being critiqued is a privilege, not a right. Someone has taken time out of their day to read your writing and to put their feedback into words for you. Appreciate the effort they've given even if you don't agree with the critique, and make sure to say "thank you."

3. Don't Get Defensive: If a critique really gets to you, wait a day and cool down before responding. Becoming defensive is a sure way to dissuade others from critiquing your work in the future, and will sting the critiquer who took the time to give you feedback.

4. Be Understanding: Not everyone has written a critique before. What you might consider a sub-par or useless critique may be someone's first-ever try. Instead of responding in an aggressive or accusatory way, reach out and help them improve their critiquing skills.

5. No Matter What, Stay Polite: Even if you're positive you're dealing with a flat-out jerk, stay polite anyway. Keep your cool, don't stoop to their level, and don't start a nasty argument. Instead, PM one of our amazing mods. They will be happy to help. Trust me. (:

Opinions. We all have them. We don't all have to agree. The important thing is that we remember to accept all critiques with grace. It'll be much easier for everyone involved!

So, what's your take on all this? Questions? Comments? Old war stories? Post them here!

1/25/2013 . Edited by Wendy Brune, 11/27/2013 #1
truces

Great thread!

So, my real problem is when people review stories along the lines of this. 'You're a retard. This is against the rules, moron. Delete it now.'

I have no problem with organizations like CU and LU, but I can't stand it when they make things unprofessional. Calling me a moron will not make me want to do what you say. XD

But I've asked the admin of CU for concrit (nervously) and it wasn't mean at all. The review stated problems and left it at that. I liked it a lot. :3

//scored first post!

1/25/2013 . Edited 1/25/2013 #2
TikiPrincess

I posted this over at WTH, but I think it fits in here nicely:

I received this review (emphasis mine):

Good chapter, but there was one thing I found annoying and that was that it rarely said John, instead dad and it looked weird, please change that in the future otherwise you'd might as well would write son instead of Dean :-P

Not trying to be harsh thou :)

After venting about it, I wrote out the following response:


Thank you for your review.

Actually, Sam and Dean have been referring to John Winchester as "Dad" since the second chapter:

"Besides, Dean was almost 21 and had been drinking DAD'S beer since... well, as long as Sam could remember. DAD had offered to change Sam's age when they made the last batch of fake IDs, but Sam doubted anyone would believe he was old enough to drink despite his height."

Perhaps it hasn't been as apparent because this is the first time we've seen an interaction with John from his son's perspective.

Although I appreciate your remarks, I assure you that the use of "Dad" instead of "John" was an intentional choice on my part. I don't use first-person narrative (using I), but I DO use a limited third-person point-of-view. This means that the chapter is told entirely from Dean's POV. I don't hop into another character's head and talk about how she's feeling or what she's thinking. So, for me, it would be weird for Dean to refer to his father as "John" in his head.

Anyways, I hope my continued use of "Dad" won't prevent you from continuing to read my story!


I tried to make it clear that the choice was deliberate and would not be changing that in future chapters, but I wanted to do it tactfully and not lose a reader, especially not one who has reviewed before (this was her second or third time reviewing). She responded positively, thanking me for clearing that up and saying she would definitely continue reading.

1/25/2013 . Edited 1/25/2013 #3
The Death Frisbee

I'd like to also suggest the converse of #4 (no, not "don't be understanding"):

6. Understand that People Critique Differently. Even if you don't like SPAG noted, or even if you prefer a more immediate-reactionary review, understand that people have different modes of critiquing (and that goes both ways, from more left-brained critiquers like me to more right-brained critiquers like other people). If you're left SPAG, or you're left an emotional review when you're looking for mechanics, or anything else, people aren't doing it just to screw with you. In many cases, it's how they think, and how they approach writing. Take what you can; leave the rest behind.

1/25/2013 . Edited 1/25/2013 #4
Wendy Brune

I absolutely LOVE this list, so props to Giry for finding it and sharing! Honestly, I use these five (six if we count Kate's nice addition) rules in every day life. This applies to more than just reviews, you know?

My biggest advice/tip is to take time before responding to a critique. Whenever I get a critique that rubs me the wrong way, I usually make myself wait at least half a day, if not longer, to respond. I welcome critique, but my gut reaction is always to be a little hurt, even when the critique is 100% justified. (I'm sensitive, I know). If I take an hour or two before responding, it usually gives time for those hurt feelings to melt away, and I'm reading to be polite and understanding.

1/25/2013 #5
Edhla

7. Put all critique into perspective.

So, as Darkin and Kate could tell you (:p) I can't use commas to save my soul. I spent five years getting a university degree in Creative Writing/English Literature, and until I came to this website last August, not a single soul had ever criticised my comma-use before. As you can imagine, having spent thirty years supposing I was doing it right, it was upsetting to be constantly told I was doing it wrong.

Until I finally put it into perspective. They're commas. Using them correctly improves my fic. Using them incorrectly annoys left-brained readers and reviewers. Either way, it does not mean my writing sucks or makes me omg-the-worst-writer-to-ever-besmirch-these-parts. It's so easy, especially if you have crappy self esteem like I do, to get a criticism and want to just give right up and never write again. Don't. Don't do that.

I also agree with what Kate said. As a personal thing, I enjoy emotional reactions from reviewers and plot-specific comments, rather than SPAG and overall-structure comments; but the beauty of RT is that, if you play enough, you get blessed with both kinds of critique. Win-win. You'll very rarely see me comment extensively on SPAG- I just don't know enough about grammar and punctuation to be able to criticise anyone, unless the mistake is basic. But not to worry- someone else who is far better at it than I will come along. They may not talk much about their emotional reaction to the fic, but I will.

1/25/2013 . Edited 1/25/2013 #6
Edhla

I just remembered something from my Creative Writing course at university that I thought might help. Poetry Writing 101. Day One. A room full of seventeen and eighteen year old budding writers. And my dear lecturer, a character and a half, opened with this:

8. This is a writing course, not group therapy.

It's sort of an extension of the caveat, "don't take it personally". But if- like some writers- you use your writing to include a self-insert, an incident that really happened to you (especially a distressing one), or to talk about some deep philosophical/political/religious/personal issue to you, that's cool and all. But remember that all because you feel strongly about something, or a character is based on yourself, it doesn't mean that your work is somehow therefore beyond criticism.

A couple of times, I have borrowed wholesale real events, that happened to me, to put in my fic. And mostly, that's worked out for me. But if I put those real things in awkwardly, if they don't match character or continuity, people need to call me on that. If my characters are based on real people, that's great, but if I'm not writing them well, or if they're coming off in a way I don't intend, I need to know that.

1/25/2013 #7
Ragnelle

Great points, and tread.

Being told that my story is less than perfect, always hurt. It can be little or much, depending on what is said, but it will hurt. That is just life, and no amount of nice phrasing is going to take away that hurt. I just have to learn to deal with it, there is no way around it.

Which is one reason I really like these rules. While I can always try to be a better reviewer and work on how I phrase myself, I can't change how others' review. Not really. Not everyone. But I can work on how I react to reviews. That I can control, and on this site it is the only thing about reviews I can control.

I can't remember a review I have complained about. Some have been disappointing, some have not been very useful, but... that, too, is life.

One rule I have found useful (though 'rule' might not be the right word), which is related to both the first rule, and Edhla's # 8, is this: You are not your story.

It has both to do with not taking critique personally, and with writing not being therapy (yes, writing can be therapeutic, but don't show your therapy on a public site), but it also have to do with not making your self-worth connected to your achievements. A person's worth is not connected to what they can do, or how good they are at it. And if we can separate our feeling of self-worth from our achievements, it will both be easier to hear critique, and we will be happier and more secure in all parts of our lives. (And I say "our" because I am not there 100%, though I am learning.) it also makes it easier, I find, to accept different forms of critique, and both well and badly worded ones.

1/26/2013 #8
Ventisquear

Great thread.

I'd add - if a review really hits the nerve and you wish the reviewer was near you so you could strangle him/her... get up from your computer, rant and shout and complain, and only when you calm down and thinking about the review doesn't do anything to you any more, only then write the reply.

And if it's too late and you already replied in a hurt, offended and angry tone, admit it and apologize. Even if you still don't agree with a single word of that review. Don't let that reviewer to pull you down to their level. ;)

1/27/2013 . Edited 1/28/2013 #9
Edhla

:)

And on THAT note, I think in my own experience it's worth noting that sometimes, a reviewer can hit a nerve and have no idea. We all have touchy places, and unless we know each other well/have reviewed each other multiple times, we can't always expect others to know whether those touchy places are. A comment made on my fic might hurt me, whereas it may not bother someone else- and vice versa. We're all human beings with lives outside of fanfic, and histories, and experiences that have shaped us, and certain things jar some and not others.

So I've found that necessary to remember, sometimes, when I've felt myself bucking up over something that hurt me. There's a difference between "hurt me in a very personal emotional place" and "is a rude comment that would hurt anybody." :)

1/27/2013 #10
Ragnelle

I've also found -- though I might be an exception here -- that when a review/critique/comment really hits a nerve with me, it is because it is true in a way I wish it wasn't. Pointing to a weak spot, and I recognise that they are right. And it does not matter whether the reviewer is polite or blunt: it hurts the same anyway.

And, Edhla: very good point. We can't expect strangers to know our touchy places, and it is not fair to expect them to. Again I would say that if something is too emotionally charged for me to tolerate any comment on, then I would probably be better off not posting it on the net. For instance: I want to, at some point, work my old horse into a story. Or write a story/make a performance about him. But I can't yet, because I miss him too much to tolerate any potential critique on such a story. So that story will have to wait.

1/27/2013 #11
Esther Huffleclaw
remember that all because you feel strongly about something, or a character is based on yourself, it doesn't mean that your work is somehow therefore beyond criticism.

I second this SO much. I cannot tell you how many times I've read really, really crappy poetry that was written in honour of someone's death or suchlike. Now, if it's just read at a funeral or something, I'm not gonna say anything, but if you post it on a writing website, it's fair game.

Again I would say that if something is too emotionally charged for me to tolerate any comment on, then I would probably be better off not posting it on the net.

Very true. There are a couple of poems I've written that I will not share on a site like Scribophile, because they're just too rawly emotional.

1/28/2013 #12
Edhla

Agreed, Esther. A person can write many things for many reasons, but I don't think it's logical or fair to post it up to a public fanfic website and then expect people to not criticise it because it's too close to your heart.

I have a question that applies to both sides of the fence- sometimes, in the course of a review, a reviewer comments on something that I want to elaborate on- an artistic choice, or a point of canon (particularly during RT.) I always feel bad, though, as if I'm being childish and contradicting their critique- I feel like it's better manners to just shut up and take my criticism.

To put it more specifically- let's say, for example, that I'm writing an Avengers fic and a reviewer questions Tony Stark's characterisation. Is it better to just let them think how they like on something rather subjective, or to respond, saying "oh, I thought it was appropriate because of x point of canon, and y line here, and the way he reacted during z..."? I find it a really thin line between defending my choices and sounding *defensive*. And I think we can agree that defensiveness is childish, annoying and not good etiquette and a slow boat to getting no reviewers game to say what they think, lest you freak out.

Thoughts?

2/2/2013 #13
StormyMonday
I find it a really thin line between defending my choices and sounding *defensive*.

I explain myself all the time, because I know not everyone will understand certain points in a story the way I do. And if I feel like I'm coming off as defensive, I will say something about it - that all I'm really trying to do is explain x, y, or z. I make sure to watch how I phrase things, and do my best to word things carefully. I did this just the other day in fact, and the reviewer responded so graciously, and even told me that she has a much better perspective on the story and why the characters do what they do. So, I guess I've done a pretty good job at not sounding defensive. Although, I do wonder when I don't get a response, but I try not to fret over it.

2/2/2013 . Edited 2/2/2013 #14
Rosawyn
I explain myself all the time, because I know not everyone will understand certain points in a story the way I do. And if I feel like I'm coming off as defensive, I will say something about it - that all I'm really trying to do is explain x, y, or z. I make sure to watch how I phrase things, and do my best to word things carefully. I did this just the other day in fact, and the reviewer responded so graciously, and even told me that she has a much better perspective on the story and why the characters do what they do. So, I guess I've done a pretty good job at not sounding defensive. Although, I do wonder when I don't get a response, but I try not to fret over it.

I'm pretty much exactly the same as Stormy here. And I've also had reviewers reply to my review replies saying they were impressed with how well I handled their criticism because they'd gotten really snippy responses for that sort of thing in the past.

2/2/2013 #15
warriorfist
To put it more specifically- let's say, for example, that I'm writing an Avengers fic and a reviewer questions Tony Stark's characterisation. Is it better to just let them think how they like on something rather subjective, or to respond, saying "oh, I thought it was appropriate because of x point of canon, and y line here, and the way he reacted during z..."? I find it a really thin line between defending my choices and sounding *defensive*. And I think we can agree that defensiveness is childish, annoying and not good etiquette and a slow boat to getting no reviewers game to say what they think, lest you freak out.

OMG. This exact situation happened with me like, four, five times. (And I suspect it's going to happen in future reviews of the story concerned!) In said story, I wrote a Tony Stark that was more subdued, and naturally reviewers asked about that more often than not. So I sometimes go into too much detail while explaining why he was like that. I think that might not be the best idea, since there are further events in the story that provide more context to his behavior in the story. Actually, Edhla, I think you raised the point in your review for that particular chapter of the story as well, and the reply had three paragraphs of explanation of why Tony was like that. I apologise profusely if that killed your mood completely! :(

BTW, thanks so much to everyone for listing these points! I borrowed them for this Review Game I am trying to do on another site. I hope that's not too rude and assuming of me.

2/2/2013 #16
thats-a-moray

9. Consider other points of view, but remember: you are the master of your story.

This is my philosophy when I'm reading my reviews. I always consider every piece of advice I receive, even if it seems silly to me at first, because I've found looking at situations from differing perspectives is one of the most helpful things one can do in life. However, when it comes down to it, it is still your story. You have your own vision that your reviewers don't have access to and all you can do is try to help them see it as clearly as possible. There are times when a reviewer might ask, "Why didn't you explain X?" It may be the case that you deliberately left X unexplained so as not to spoil the reveal that's coming in the next chapter. So you don't have to explain X right then at there, but if a lot of people seem confused you might want to drop a hint of foreshadowing to let your readers know, "Hey, X is coming, be patient!"

One of the things I see often in young writers is that they're very, very defensive of their stories. Sometimes I've had authors react to a review as if they're being pinned to a wall and forced to change something in their story. Even when we know that's not the case, sometimes its hard not to feel protective of your work. So when I feel that way, I find it's helpful to remind myself that this is my story and it's okay for me to consider other people's opinions because I still have final say. Sometimes I even find that an idea I'm initially resistant to leads to a big improvement. That's why I think all authors should should give serious consideration to constructive criticism - even if they ultimately decide not to follow their reviewer's advice. (I hope all that made sense...)

2/4/2013 #17
Legendary Biologist
There are times when a reviewer might ask, "Why didn't you explain X?" It may be the case that you deliberately left X unexplained so as not to spoil the reveal that's coming in the next chapter. So you don't have to explain X right then at there, but if a lot of people seem confused you might want to drop a hint of foreshadowing to let your readers know, "Hey, X is coming, be patient!"

This is common because I like to keep something as a secret in the beginning, but some readers just want to know directly before the time. I'm the master of the story so don't expect me to answer you because it will be revealed in the future chapters!!! Out of control, sorry. It's like opening the loop, and leave it open, but I will close it when it is the time. I drop a hint of foreshadowing (very little and often vague) because if I am too direct or revealing too much, this means that I'm about to close the loop when it isn't the time yet.

One of the things I see often in young writers is that they're very, very defensive of their stories. Sometimes I've had authors react to a review as if they're being pinned to a wall and forced to change something in their story. Even when we know that's not the case, sometimes its hard not to feel protective of your work. So when I feel that way, I find it's helpful to remind myself that this is my story and it's okay for me to consider other people's opinions because I still have final say. Sometimes I even find that an idea I'm initially resistant to leads to a big improvement.

Very this. I don't want to sound defensive, but I'm afraid that I don't care for the reviewers. Sometimes some reviews from fandom-unfamiliar reviewers can contradict, mostly in characterization. I appreciate thoughts about characters, but in some cases, if the suggestions are to make this character like this or like that, it is likely to be OOC in the end.

2/4/2013 #18
Edhla

I agree with LB and Moray... and would add that if you truly know your own mind and your own work, stick with your instincts.

I recently wrote a scene that a bunch of readers had been waiting for... a reckoning, of sorts. Everyone in the fandom has an idea of how this will play out in-canon. So my readers all anticipated how my characters would feel and react, and what they would do in those circumstances.

When I absolutely refused to write what everyone wanted (because it went against how I felt the situation would play out, and what these characters would do), the reaction from readers was distinctly tepid. I felt bad. I even wrote an author's note asking people if they hated it. But I'm not finished dealing with that part of the plot, so after a lot of soul-searching, I had to tell myself to stick with the plan, and not let the whims of the readers derail my plot or characterisation. I'm glad they responded, even if it was with "meh, but, what about x?", but... yeah. Ultimately, it's my story and there's no "wrong" way to write it.

On the other hand, my readers, reviewers, betas and friends here have helped me hone a scene or a character or avoid a Big Epic Disaster, generally when I become too fond of an idea without considering whether it matches my story or characters. Like I said in the other thread: throw your thoughts at me, people. I'll take what I can use. Please don't be offended if I leave what I can't.

2/5/2013 . Edited 2/5/2013 #19
Edhla

I just posted this on the *other* reviews thread, and I'm interested in what you guys think from the other side of things- how you would approach this as a writer, rather than as a reviewer:

I was thinking about a review I saw on a non-RLt fic the other night and wondered how you would approach reviewing something that put you off-side, in that it struck you as being in very bad taste? Long story short, this fic I read included a scene whereby two children accuse a doctor of molesting them, and it's presented as a gag, which makes ME gag. Is it really a reviewer's place to say "dude, I know you meant that to be funny, but just no"? Or "I know you thought Edward housebreaking to watch Bella sleep and sabotaging her car was sweet and conscientious, but to me I just saw 'controlling, emotionally abusive creep'?"

If my characters were coming off in a way totally contrary to what I had intended, *I'd* want to know. Recently I had a reviewer tell me a character was behaving like a jerk. That was good feedback, and luckily, I meant for him to be behaving like a jerk just then. But when you say to someone "that character you think is romantic is behaving like a predator" or "that joke you think is funny is actually in really bad taste", it does become a little personal, no? You're not just criticising the writing, but the writer's own sense of what is right/wrong funny/crass romantic/creepy.

How do you "rate" critique of this kind? Reviewers overstepping the line, or helpful? And how do you deal graciously with someone telling you that Canonical Good Guy Hero in your fic is actually behaving like a borderline serial killer, or that your sweet OC is being manipulative and selfish, etc etc? I can see how critique of this kind would be the hardest kind to take, since conflicting views can seem personal.

Or would you personally prefer reviewers not to mention issues like this at all?

2/9/2013 #20
Crow's Talon
Or would you personally prefer reviewers not to mention issues like this at all?

I find those critiques the most difficult to address and repair, since characterization issues tend to be implanted deeper in the story than simple grammar mistakes or slight errors with a name that are easy to fix with a quick edit. Often, in my experience, correcting those requires heavy rewriting.

The hardest kind of review for me to accept is the kind where the reviewer doesn't really say anything encouraging or positive about the story, but just lists mistakes. When I was first starting out, it was hard to see my story being picked apart like that. Whenever I get one of those today, I remember that the reviewer wants me to improve and some critics just happen to be more strict than others, and I thank the reviewer for his/her input and fix what I can.

3/7/2013 #21
summerlinde

This might be a little bit off-topic, but how much criticism is too much? I know when I'm writing reviews, I get nervous about commenting on too much negative stuff, because I'm afraid of hurting someone's feelings. I usually try to boil it down to the one or two biggest things, or the things I think would make the biggest immediate difference, but then sometimes I feel like I didn't do enough to help because I didn't mention everything I didn't like. It's especially hard for me because, like Edhla, I tend to be a more right-brained, emotional reviewer, and I have a hard time sorting through the mechanical stuff to comment on it because that's just not where my brain goes first. How much is too much SpaG? I'm never sure.

Usually, this isn't a problem, because most people in here are good enough writers that I don't have all that much to say on the negative side, but I do worry sometimes. Is there a certain number of negative observations or ratio of positive to negative comments that seems like too much to you guys?


To respond to the original list, I tend to hear the negatives more than I hear the positives when I read reviews people have left, and I definitely get a little upset, but I've been learning to adjust, and I definitely agree with all of the rules that have been mentioned in this thread - all of those things have helped me get over reviews in the past, and I think they're all good advice for people being reviewed.

3/11/2013 #22
Edhla

Summerlinde, in theory I don't think the ratio of negative/positive crit should really matter. If it's okay to leave a gushing, praise-praise-praise review with absolutely no concrit at all, then it should be fine to leave a review that doesn't gush at all.

In terms of a RT review, I wouldn't let SPaG take up more than 1/3 of the review. If SPaG is pretty dire, I usually correct one or two things and then mention there are more throughout and the writer can PM me if they would like me to proofread (fun fact: nobody has ever taken me up on that offer :p)

And then, of course, there are people who are going to be offended at anything, and you can't avoid those. "I thought there were a lot of said-bookisms in this section, which tripped off my eyes when they appeared. Perhaps if you replaced some with "said" and some with action tags?" shouldn't really offend... yet with some people it does.

Psychologically, there's stuff to support that people always give more weight to negative criticism than positive. So if you wrote a review that was 50/50, chances are that the person involved would mentally change that to, say, 70/30.

I've been tempted on numerous occasions to be kind to the point of lying because I knew that the writer would react badly. I'm slowly realising that while blasting someone's work is never, ever okay, completely ignoring huge swathes of problematic text isn't actually helping the writer either. Theoretically, especially with RT, we're meant to be helping one another, not just giving each other pats on the back :)

In terms of your own reviews, I've neither received nor seen a bad one from you, so I don't think you have much to worry about :)

3/11/2013 . Edited by Wendy Brune, 3/11/2013 #23
summerlinde

That's a good point about RT. You really shouldn't sign up for RT if you're not willing to be relentlessly and cheerfully helped. :P In dire situations, I tend to try to diagnose the problem, so then I'll say something like "Be careful to keep your tenses consistent" instead of pointing out everywhere they missed a tense, for example, but when there are multiple big problems, I'm never quite sure what to do. :/

That's a good point about the praise-only review. I always go into a review thinking I'm not going to do that and I'm going to find something negative to say, but it's not always easy, especially because I'm kind of like a geyser. I'm naturally inclined to gush. I've been trying to work on being constructive, but it usually ends up just being "I'm going to be extremely specific about what I like so that people know what already worked!" And I'm not sure if that's really true or not or if that really transfers or not, but it keeps happening anyway. It makes sense that it would be ok to do the opposite, as long as you weren't actually mean or spiteful or harsh about it. I'm not sure I could actually do it, though.

I do really appreciate reviews with specific things to work on, especially when they're relatively quick fixes. Specificity really helps me, because when I can focus on analyzing what I think of a specific section or passage and somebody's comment on it, it takes some of the emotion out of it for me. I think because it's less personal to dislike a sentence or a paragraph or a scene than it is to dislike an entire fic, in some way.

3/11/2013 #24
Edhla
I completely love it when reviewers are specific- down to individual quotes. So much more helpful than 'dialogue seemed awkward.' Which dialogue? Why did it seem awkward? We all have different reviewing styles and some people are naturally more critical than others. As long as you're being honest, I think it's okay...
3/11/2013 #25
darkaccalia520

Are we allowed to tactfully address a criticism we've received and defend ourselves?

I'm not saying that I'm malicious about it, but if I receive a critique, yes, I do accept it. But I also tell myself that's one's opinion, and I see nothing wrong with giving a kind of 'agree to disagree' reply.

Is that not okay?

3/12/2013 #26
Verran
Are we allowed to tactfully address a criticism we've received and defend ourselves?

I'm not saying that I'm malicious about it, but if I receive a critique, yes, I do accept it. But I also tell myself that's one's opinion, and I see nothing wrong with giving a kind of 'agree to disagree' reply.

Is that not okay?

Since Giry put up the original post in this thread, I've often referred back to it for my own benefit. In the context of those guidelines, yes, it is absolutely okay to tactfully address a criticism. But if you are addressing a criticism to defend yourself, then that's not okay. The reason for this is because if you feel like you have to defend your work, you are automatically assuming that you are being attacked. If you feel like you have to defend yourself, then you are automatically assuming you are being attacked personally. The whole sentiment behind Giry's post, and this entire thread, is to assume that the critiquer is doing their best to point things out to you - that they are taking time to be helpful. Agree to disagree I'd say was okay, but again, remember the five points before writing it.

In fact I can't put it in any better words than those five points were put in the first place, except to paste them here again, because it will be easier for people to refer back to as conversations go back and forth as this page gets longer. If anyone remembers to, they should paste them at the top of the next page, too.

1. Don't Take It Personally: Critiquers aren't trying to attack you, to purposely hurt your feelings, or to get you down. They don't even know who you are.They're telling you what they honestly think of your writing because they genuinely want you to improve.

2. Be Grateful: Being critiqued is a privilege, not a right. Someone has taken time out of their day to read your writing and to put their feedback into words for you. Appreciate the effort they've given even if you don't agree with the critique, and make sure to say "thank you."

3. Don't Get Defensive: If a critique really gets to you, wait a day and cool down before responding. Becoming defensive is a sure way to dissuade others from critiquing your work in the future, and will sting the critiquer who took the time to give you feedback.

4. Be Understanding: Not everyone has written a critique before. What you might consider a sub-par or useless critique may be someone's first-ever try. Instead of responding in an aggressive or accusatory way, reach out and help them improve their critiquing skills.

5. No Matter What, Stay Polite: Even if you're positive you're dealing with a flat-out jerk, stay polite anyway. Keep your cool, don't stoop to their level, and don't start a nasty argument. Instead, PM one of our amazing mods. They will be happy to help. Trust me. (:

I can't think of anything more to say except I just hope that everyone here - in fact everyone everywhere just scans these over once in a while or whenever they receive feedback they're finding difficult to swallow - you just can't go wrong!

3/12/2013 . Edited 3/12/2013 #27
darkaccalia520

Well, no offense, but I still don't see that as law. Yes, it's good advice, but when I receive a review, I like to address and reply to every section of it.

So if I'm not allowed to say anything back about a critique, how should I be replying then? I've probably been doing it wrong this whole time.

/is very confused.

3/12/2013 #28
ReadingBlueWolf

It's more about defending yourself vs defending the story. Either way, people are always going to see things differently. If I get a review I'm not fond of I say thanks for taking the time to address these things. I don't do anything about them, but I still thanked that person. If it's really off and they didn't understand I might add things about actually, this is what I was going for, but defending myself and the story is pointless at times. People are always going to have different opinions on what should be changed and what shouldn't be.

Sometimes I believe people are trying to make it their story vs actually giving helpful tips.

3/12/2013 #29
darkaccalia520

Well, I guess maybe I need to clarify. I'm not exactly defending myself...but yes, it's more that I'm trying to explain what I was trying to do...or something. But, um, I'm pretty sure I've offended some people by doing this. And I guess I don't know how to rectify that.

3/12/2013 #30
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