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Posts Tagged ‘constructive criticism’

What has inspired this blog you may ask? Well the other day I was reading a story on wattpad and I left some comments on a chapter to help the author improve their writing. The story wasn’t bad, it was actually quite good, but there were issues. For one, there was a lot of telling and not enough showing. There were some badly structured sentences and some tense and grammar issues. This author mentioned his writing needed work and welcomed criticism. That was all the encouragement I needed so that is exactly what I did.

Now before you think he took offence at it, I’ll say now that he didn’t. What did happen shocked me, I must confess. Another random reader came along and replied to one of my comments saying just two words…. ‘stop hating’.

At first I was shocked and it stumbled me. I had to think quick and for a moment I panicked. Had I been too harsh? Was my comment rude and thoughtless? Then as I read through the previous comments, I noticed she said the same thing to another person who made a very similar comment to mine. I looked through all my comments and previous comments and came to this conclusion: there was no hating whatsoever.

This girl who took offence at it assumed we were being harsh. I wrote back and said we weren’t hating, we were offering constructive criticism. She responded immediately saying ‘no it’s hating’. I asked her if she wanted to improve her own writing and if so, would she want to accept criticism. Do you know what she said? I’m sure you’ve guessed it already. She said no!

So this is what inspired me to write this blog. So how important is constructive criticism?

My answer… It’s extremely important! If you don’t accept criticism you’re never going to become a better writer.

I’ll be honest, criticism can hurt. A lot. Being told your work is crap is like adding salt to an open wound. You feel like your heart is about to burst out of your chest. It’s the most painful thing you’ll endure as a writer. You’ve spent hours slaving over a story…it’s your baby! Then to be told it has flaws…wow it’s the most crushing feeling. Sometimes it means having to rewrite your entire story. All you want to do is cry. Burn the entire manuscript. Give up being an author all together. Trust me, we’ve all been there.

All I have to say to this is: Never give up.

Accepting criticism makes you a better writer, trust me. You’ll learn where you’re falling short and soon enough you’re ten times better at it. It will improve your future writing, which in turn won’t have as many criticisms. It’s a happy outcome really.

Once you’ve learnt how to overcome the heartbreak of criticisms, you’ll realise how important it is. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still feel that twinge of hurt when someone pulls your work to pieces but you’ll hold your head high, take it on board and make improvements.

This is basically what I told that girl. I sent her a private message because I didn’t want to argue with her in the comments of this guy’s story. I learnt she was 13 so she still has to learn a lot about writing and I just explained how important criticism is. Her final response was ‘I just don’t like criticism’. Well, duh. Who doesn’t like criticism? Okay, some people might but not many of us do. For me I don’t like it per se but in another sense I do. I don’t like that pang when I’ve been told something doesn’t work but I love learning how to improve and I love how much better my writing is afterwards.

So to finish off, let me stress once more that while criticism isn’t nice, it’s so important. You will become a much better writer because of it.

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I just posted a blog titled Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards (ABNA) – My Submission.

Further from that, I am now writing a blog so I can get feedback from you, the reader. Below is a copy of my pitch and I would really appreciate if you would read it and gave me some constructive feedback on it.

Even though I have submitted by manuscript to ABNA, I still have a few days to make changes to it if required. So feedback before 2nd March 2014 will be appreciated.

My pitch is below. Be as harsh as you like, just remember the feedback must be constructive. Tell me what works or doesn’t work and what will help to improve it.

Amazon’s definition of a pitch is this: ‘your pitch should highlight your concept, protagonist, setting, and writing style—all the elements that make your story unique’.

With that in mind, my pitch is below. Just to confirm, the novel I submitted is called ‘The Matchmaker’ and is submitted under the romance category. Thanks in advance.

Comment away! 🙂

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Pitch

It’s the beginning of summer. School is nearing its end. Three best friends are determined to have the best summer yet.

Shannon, Brian and Nathan have been friends since primary school but when school ends, everything changes. Shannon and Brian realise they have feelings for each other that extend beyond friendship.

A summer romance begins. When the three friends go camping for the weekend, Shannon and Brian realise they have more than teenage infatuation.

One week later, Shannon wakes up in hospital with no memory of what happened after their trip. Unexplainable emptiness consumes her, terrifying images and nightmares haunt her day and night. Something momentous has happened but she can’t remember any part of it.

Her father explains that after losing everything in a house fire, her mother abandoned them but he will not say more. She trusts him but deep down she knows there is something missing. Has he lied to her? What really happened?

As terrifying images and unexplainable emotions consume her, Shannon tries to bury her fears. She begins to take an active role in other peoples’ lives. She becomes The Matchmaker.

Focusing on other people’s happiness helps her forget her own turmoils. Running her friends lives helps her ignore the pain of her own.

As years pass, Shannon becomes a stranger to those closest to her, even Brian. She can’t bear to be close to anyone because every time she is, her emotions run out of control and the pain becomes unbearable. Brian vows to wait for her but even the best of men have limits. When Shannon takes things too far, Brian can’t hold things together any longer.

As her world collapses, Shannon finally uncovers the horrifying truth. Now she must find a way to rebuild her life and win back her true love.

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