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Constructive Criticism: Why the Hate?

Essay By: Inconspicuously Oblivious
Editorial and opinion

Just a few of my thoughts on constructive criticism within Booksie.

I couldn't think of a cover to put in for this, so I chose the completely adorable and totally unrelated baby koala.

Submitted:Apr 24, 2013    Reads: 24    Comments: 3    Likes: 0   

Some people on Booksie (and probably elsewhere) have posted their thoughts on constructive criticism in the past, and honestly, I'm a little baffled most people's point of view on the matter.

Granted, I've not seen all of them, so I may not be alone here, but they all seem to take an anti-criticism stance. Why? What is it that's so wrong with criticism?

Personally, I'm all for the comments that point out flaws that I could improve upon. Unfortunately, no one ever gets or gives those. I have two theories about this: 1) we're all afraid to be even remotely negative because we'll either hurt the author's feelings or we'll be attacked for being a 'hater,' or 2) we ourselves make the same mistakes and therefore don't notice them in others' stories.

I'm leaning toward the first explanation. I know that I'm guilty of it. As a perfectionist, I find little things in people's stories that bug me all the time, but I almost never point them out because everyone tends to assume that if a comment isn't all rainbows and unicorns, the person who left it is automatically an awful person who has no idea what he or she is talking about. I'd like to think that isn't the case for me.

I will be the first to admit that I'm far from perfect. There's so much room for improvement in my writing that I could probably run around the Earth a couple times and still not fill the space with that distance. But the thing is, my writing will never get any better if I don't know what needs work.

Think of it this way: if you had food on your face, would you want someone to tell you so you could fix it, or would you rather everyone pretend not to notice and go through the entire day with it there?

I don't know about you guys, but I'd choose no food over blissful ignorance, and the same goes for my writing. I'm not saying that every peace of advice has merit, but there's nothing wrong with at least considering what the person has to say.

There are a lot of benefits to constructive criticism, I believe, and it might be a good thing if we all start offering AND accepting it more often. A lot of you guys will probably disagree with this opinion, but I wanted to share my feelings about this topic. Feel free to tear me apart for this. It'd be nice to have a two-sided discussion!

**For the record, I'm not talking about the comments that are needlessly mean and offer no support or actual critique (the "This story sucks!" comments would fall under this category); I'm talking about the ones from people who're trying to help.


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