Hi to my fellow readers and writers! It's been a while since I've updated my blog.
So, to make it up to you all, I have this nice lengthy post just for you!
This is only a guide on how to receive and give CC that I've compiled based on my personal experiences.
I've said this just about everywhere and to everyone I've gotten into a discussion with about harsh critics and butthurt writers - and there seem to be a multitude of both as of late. So please read, take it to heart, and go forth and conquer!
Concrit, for anyone who doesn't know (yet) is short for constructive criticism.
1. Realize that even if you open your world and characters to people of every age, religion, sexual orientation and gender, not every person is going to like what you put out. This is the reality, and you can do nothing but accept it.
2. Don't be ignorant. If you ask for concrit, make sure your skin is thick enough to take the blows. If you can't handle it, it might be wise to specifically state that you don't want concrit but reviews are welcomed.
3. Concrit is not 'wow!' 'Love it!' 'More plz!' 'This is the best story I've ever read!' That's called praise by a fan of your work. Concrits are not layered with fluffiness.
4. Your pride will be shaken by genuine concrit. You might feel angry, or hurt. This is natural. Nobody likes being told that they're doing something wrong or that they've done something bad. Take a breather and go relax and think over what has been said to you before you jump on your horse and race into an unnecessary war. Once you've accepted that there is validity to the concrit, a simple 'thanks' to the person would suffice.
5. Don't question obvious critique unless you do so with the mentality that you want to know how to fix something. Be smart about it.
6. Implement it! What is the point in receiving concrit if you're going to ignore it and continue making the same mistakes?
7. Differentiate between the type of reviews you receive.
OMG this is so good!
Please update soon!
Wow this is the best!
- These build you a fanbase. They also build you a big head. You might not be as good as they say, and that will be to your detriment, not theirs.
Nobody wants to read this kinda stuff!
You have so many spelling errors it makes my head want to 'splode!
Stop writing. You're bad.
- Discard these without a second thought. These are trolls. DON'T FEED THE TROLLS!
- Heed it, I say!
Now on to the giving part! For all of you who deem yourselves as pro-concritics: read this and weep, and be humbled, because most of you are doing it wrong.
As per the dictionary -> Constructive Criticism: criticism or advice that is useful and intended to help or improve something, often with an offer of possible solutions.
Maybe now that you know what the definition of concrit is you'll do it right.
1. If you're not a literary agent, an editor/proofreader by profession, or haven't thoroughly studied the anatomy of writing in some tertiary form, or haven't been attending regular writer workshops and not writing daily for over three years, you are not ready or apt to leave concrit of any sort. Period.
Any well-versed writer will respond to your inadequate review and call you out on your inadequacy. Writers can be terrifying when they're tearing an inept reviewer apart, because often than not the writer's knowledge on their profession is vast and obliterates any newbie's attempt at coming across as clever.
2. Be tactful. It's unnecessary and immature to have to revert to the use of words such as 'sucks' or vulgar language. That classes as trolling.
3. Be CONSTRUCTIVE.
Highlight the faults first. If something is romanticized, overused, or Mary Sue/Gary Stu, you have to say where it is romanticized, how it is overused, why it is Mary Sue/Gary Stu.
How can you expect a plumber to fix a pipe if you simply show him into the house and say "There's a leak in the house"? WHERE is the leak?
4. Follow the right sum for concrit:
quote + error = how to mend.
5. Always finish your review by pointing out where the writer did good, whether it was the emotion they brought across well or whether the flow was smooth or whether the character was well portrayed. The writer can't come back at you with a pitch fork if you give them genuine concrit, but that doesn't mean they won't feel a little discouraged. They'll need you to tell them that their writing isn't all errors and flaws, that they did manage to do something right. Be honest. The last thing you want to do is give a writer false praise.
I believe that is all that needs to be said.
Happy writing, until the next blog!
It's not that easy to write a horror story. Many things that scare people have already been done in one form or the other on television and in literature.
So a few things I've picked up during my procrastination period are, first and foremost, to be original.
For me that's one of the hardest hurdles to get over. It's also why I let my imagination roam wild and I let my characters go into the abyss outside the box. If you have read my FF's you'll know what I'm talking about - when a story feels like it's starting to settle it means that it is becoming predictable.
That's when I change the direction of the story and throw one of my infamous 'twists' into the works; something no one saw coming and it follows the plot. My characters are still chasing after their happy ending (or not so-happy ending), they just decided to take a treacherous hike through the forest of doom instead of skipping along the clearly marked path to their destination.
Throwing these unexpected twists into my stories have had readers questioning my sanity and accusing me of being evil (although I will not deny the latter). But I'm not really.
I only choose the road I believe will develop my characters into the beings I want them to be, and you can't have character development if you're afraid to imprison your perfectly powerful little darling in the enemy's dungeon and have him slowly lose his mind instead of magically breaking out of his confinement, pronto!
Another thing I've gotten down to an art is developing the story itself. I'll have this wonderful idea for a novel, maybe dot down a scene or two, or I'll write a 'whole' first draft from start to finish. Then I leave it.
I go back over the details in my head; replay the whole story in my mind over and over. I leave it to fester, I re-think it time and time again. Truth be told, giving a plot time and space to grow inside of you will eventually produce a wild, beautiful tree. It will have branches that spread in directions you never would have thought of if you'd drowned it with water. And when the time comes to revisit it, you'll have a clear vision of which twigs to trim, which branches to break off, and which ones are necessary for the tree to flourish.
Then, of course, there's the roles your characters play that you need to consider. Minor characters that serve no purpose but to fill a blank white space with words need to be erased completely. Main characters that are necessary to tell the story must be original.
Each of mine in Shadow Legacy, the manuscript I'm currently working on, have clear goals they want to achieve. Haley, my lead protagonist, has her goals change throughout the novel, as her character develops and situations arise, from basic survival to protecting her family. Randolf's goal is to keep Haley alive and preferably in one piece, Jeremy's goal is mainly to woo Amber and avoid getting dragged back to his origins, and Amber's goal is unachievable - who can really make everyone truly happy? - but her determination for goodness serves as the spark that redirects the other characters toward the end.
Speaking of which, it's really difficult for me to write horror. Not that I lack the creativity to do so, just the opposite actually. The story has become so vivid in my mind that, yes, I actually get the jitters merely thinking of starting to revise it. A sleepless night of procrastinating later and here I am, coffee in hand, curtains wide open and music playing loudly.
I'm in the right mind to inflict my horror on the page, and once I have, maybe you too will be as scared as I am.
Until the next blog!