Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Handling Bad Critiques

This week, I’ve had an entry in the Are You Hooked? critique round over at the Write On! blog. To be honest, the critiques on my entry weren’t favourable. For the past few weeks, I’d been exploring a new idea (yes, I’m aware I’m supposed to be editing) in a different style to what I usually write. It’s an exciting new idea and I’ve been having fun with it. So, when I got several “I’m not hooked” critiques, I was initially a bit disappointed.

‘Oh. I guess no one likes my writing.’

I’ve posted on this topic about a month ago, but I think it’s worth revisiting. A bad critique does not mean you’re a bad writer. It’s not a personal attack. A bad critique simply means that the story is no good. I’m sure I’m not the only person who gets the odd dud idea.

When you open yourself up for critiques, it’s vital that you keep in mind that it’s subjective. What Person A likes may not be the same as what Person B likes. Each person favours different styles of writing, and enjoy different genres, and this shows in the critiquing. I found this while I was giving critiques: if I didn’t enjoy a particular genre, I was more likely to not be hooked.

When you get a bad critique, I think it’s best not to respond right away, or even respond at all. Give yourself some time to digest the critique and think about what the person said. After a while you’ll come to realise that what they said is actually true! Only once you realise this should you respond to any critique, if you like.  

For the comments: how do you handle bad critiques? Let me know!


  1. Ahh, yes. I just blogged about this! Or rather, about the feedback on my entry. I'm sorry not many people were hooked. =( *wonders which one it was*

    You're totally right though. Crits are hard!

    I handle them by having my pouty time (hah!). I'll probably not write for a day or so, eat lots of chocolate, and do some thinking. And then I put all that aside, take a deep breath, and get motivated to do some fixing. Often I'll even get excited, because the crits will have given me the answers I was looking for.

  2. You are such a smart cookie. :) I'm sorry you didn't get good crits back! But I'm sure you can work with them and make it all better anyway. ^_^

    I have yet to get a *bad* critique. I've only gotten a few as of yet, because I'm all green in such areas. (...Not literally green. O_o) But I HOPE that I would handle it intelligently and still use whatever it said to better my writing.

  3. Maggie: I'm glad everything works out for you, even if you do need some pouty time! :P

    Constance:I'm sure you *will* handle the bad critique intelligently!

  4. So…I'm ~99.9% sure which excerpt was yours, being the only one you didn't comment on, hehe. If you wanted to REALLY throw me off, you could've commented on yours, and I would've been clueless. XD

    Anyway, I agree—what Person A & Person B, and even what Person C likes can be completely different, and will definitely influence their interest in a story. I, for one, enjoyed your opening, as long as it's the one I'm 99.9% positive it is. =) There's always going to be things that need fixing, but I thought it was a great start.

    I do disagree a bit, that a bad critique means the story is no good. It could mean that the story hasn't found its audience yet, which is very key. Twilight wouldn't have been published if it had been up to old men who only read the newspaper(wishing that was the case…=P). But that's not who Twilight was written for. ^_^

  5. Oops, forgot to answer the question. heh. *^_^*

    I handle critiques by analyzing them for the things they pointed out that I feel should be fixed, fixing those aspects, then going back and seeing if the things I at first disregarded are worth more than I thought. It really helps me to keep a humble mindset through it, to not assume everyone will love it because I love it(this is hard, but I try).

    Of course, I'm still disappointed when someone says they're not hooked. I got a rather lukewarm reaction, in near all regards, to my opening, and I've tweaked some things. But some suggestions came from not knowing the characters, world, or premise, and so had to be taken with a grain of salt. Always salt! ^_^

  6. Amanda: Heheh, I'd say you've guess correctly. My entry was the only one I didn't crit. :P

    Your third paragraph in the first comment is a good point. Too bad I'm not sure what genre mine is... (A clue!)

    Thanks for your comments!