Re: How thick is your author skin?

#1
Do bad reviews bounce off you like rubber, or does rejection make you curl up into a ball and rock yourself to sleep? Do you get jealous when you read writing you perceive as better than your own or do you take off your writer hat and engage as a reader? 

More importantly, what's your perspective on handling negative and harsh critical feedback? We all can't just drink heavily (or can we). 

Personally? I obsess over negative feedback. I explore it and try to determine whether it's meant to constructive, whether it's honest, or if there are some kind of ulterior motives. While it's unhealthy to take one opinion too harshly I also think it's an important skill to be able to not only learn how to receive feedback, but how to sort through it for the useful bits. 

Of course I also beam over positive comments for a full 24 hours. They sustain me.

What do you folks think?

Re: How thick is your author skin?

#2
gwunders Wrote: Do bad reviews bounce off you like rubber, or does rejection make you curl up into a ball and rock yourself to sleep? Do you get jealous when you read writing you perceive as better than your own or do you take off your writer hat and engage as a reader?

Being jealous of other writers isn't constructive to them or to yourself. I'd rather encourage and learn from them.

I know you weren't suggesting otherwise, and that wasn't supposed to sound like a rebuke.

gwunders Wrote: Personally? I obsess over negative feedback. I explore it and try to determine whether it's meant to constructive, whether it's honest, or if there are some kind of ulterior motives. While it's unhealthy to take one opinion too harshly I also think it's an important skill to be able to not only learn how to receive feedback, but how to sort through it for the useful bits. 

I know it's not as simple as this, but my simple rule is that if negative feedback is insulting just ignore it, if it's constructive consider their points. Not all feedback is relevant to every story or author, some have styles and preferences others do not and it's important to keep that in mind, but yet not to have an ego so big that you shrug off all advice.

If you have to dig through someone's feedback to find constructive advice, then it's probably not worth the effort.

Some people are naturally resilient, others have to develop it over time and experience.

Re: How thick is your author skin?

#4

gwunders Wrote: Do bad reviews bounce off you like rubber, or does rejection make you curl up into a ball and rock yourself to sleep?

Depends on what you mean by "bad reviews". Is it a critic to your work or just someone that generally didn't like it and wanted to let you know? If it's a critic review, i'll investigate what i did wrong and what i could do to fix it— unless it changes the artistic direction i'm going for. If it's just someone venting out their dislike of my work in general, or maybe characters, events, scenes and whatnot... Then i ignore it. Once upon a time I received some critics that certain 'proportions' of some of my characters seemed a tad unrealistic. I argued that so is magic, monsters and many others aspects of high fantasy, so we both agreed that it should pass as suspension of disbelief.

gwunders Wrote: Do you get jealous when you read writing you perceive as better than your own or do you take off your writer hat and engage as a reader?


No. No matter what you do, there's always going to be someone better. That's something life has taught me since an early age. I write as a hobbie, because i really do enjoy sharing my stories— the worlds and characters that i create. I'm not trying to compete against anyone else, and as long as i can bring a smile to someone's face when they're reading my work, i'll be happy. Actually... Since i write some spicy stuff, i guess i'll be happy as long as someone goes: "Damn, that's hot!".

gwunders Wrote: what's your perspective on handling negative and harsh critical feedback? We all can't just drink heavily (or can we).


It hasn't been that long since i started writing in english, so i haven't received that many critics. Most people that talked to me seemed to like my style and the general aspects of my story. Though I did hear that some other people got scared off because my first few chapters were too long, and later because of the spicy content. I thought about triming the long chapters, but ended up deciding against it. And i can't really stop with the spicy content, since it's part of what i liike to do. All in all, can't do much about those critics.

gwunders Wrote: I obsess over negative feedback. I explore it and try to determine whether it's meant to constructive, whether it's honest, or if there are some kind of ulterior motives.


Don't do this. It can end up affecting the quality of your work. You should write what you want to, what you actually enjoy writing.  Unless you're trying to make some cash with said writing, in which case, i hear that furry erotica is paying quite well lately.

Re: How thick is your author skin?

#5


MAKO Wrote: So thin even positive comments make me weep in despair

Godspeed, brave writer. I know these feels well.

TheHex Wrote:
gwunders Wrote: I obsess over negative feedback. I explore it and try to determine whether it's meant to constructive, whether it's honest, or if there are some kind of ulterior motives.


Don't do this. It can end up affecting the quality of your work. You should write what you want to, what you actually enjoy writing.  Unless you're trying to make some cash with said writing, in which case, i hear that furry erotica is paying quite well lately.

Oh I'm perfectly capable of ignoring my own neurosis. I'm mostly just sharing my toxic habits out of curiosity for how other people interact with the same sort of situation! Nonetheless, I do appreciate the support.




Re: How thick is your author skin?

#6
I've had negative reviews complain about things I did intentionally with the exact reaction I was hoping for when I was writing it. I've also had people rant about things that other people praise highly. So, now I'm just numb to the criticism and just think to myself "here we go, another one". 

The frustrating part is the vast majority of the reviews come from before ch20, which is when things start to kick into gear. It used to bother me a lot more than now, but I receive more negative ones than positive. I'm thankful that they're no longer about the quality of my writing like my earliest reviews and are just hating on my MC (for exactly what I intended as character flaws). So I ignore it and have zero intention of ever rewriting. It's already been through countless edits, any more improvements are beyond my ability. 

Re: How thick is your author skin?

#7
I don't think there is an author out there who can truly say that they aren't hurt when they receive negative feedback. I mean, I can pretend like it doesn't phase me, and try to remain calm on the outside while ignoring it, but that doesn't mean that I'm not having a massive internal breakdown over whether or not it's something I should change or focus on. 

To put it simply, whenever people give me feedback I mull on it. I think about it, and I try to figure out whether I should listen to the feedback or not. 

Sometimes, readers will give you feedback that adheres specifically to what THEY want to see, and other times they will give you feedback that will make your story better overall, but the thing is- it's hard to know the difference. 

The only thing we as authors can do is think on it, and attempt to improve our stories in that aspect. I have noticed this a ton recently, but when I originally was writing early on in my story, I would just write whatever came to my head and smile. Nowadays, I find myself taking a whole lot more time, really trying to think everything through before I put it on paper- with one question in mind. Will this be good if I do it? 

To be honest, everything I do these days I question. Should I do this? Should I do that? Would that ruin the story if I made the mc do this? Would it make them unlikable? Would it disappoint the readers? Would it be underwhelming? Would it be out of character? Would it be fine to do something out of character under given circumstances? What is this all building up to? Is there a reason for this scene? If I introduce a character, what purpose will they have in the story? What will be their fate? Will that be satisfying? How do I make it such? Will this go against everything I have established? Will it be fine if it does that, as a twist? Or will it just be an asspull?

These are just some of the questions that come to my mind when I think up my story. I think the fact that I ask myself all these questions is deliberately because of all the criticism I have received, and I think that is a good thing. However, it is very hard to differentiate between criticism and toxicity, because as an author we see everything negative about our stories with pain. Therefore, for me at least, my goal is to continue to ask myself more and more questions before I put anything on the paper, so that when I do it will be much better than just jotting something down for the heck of it. 

Re: How thick is your author skin?

#8
I must admit that bad comments or reviews used to bother me a lot more than they do now. They still do, just not as much. Over time, I've been able to accept the fact that people have different tastes and perceptions. You're not going to please everyone and sometimes readers are more than happy to let you know about it. I try (not always successfully) to accept whatever criticism I receive as an opportunity to improve my writing. Is accepting criticism about something you've created easy? No, it hurts, but to grow as an author sometimes a little pain is necessary.

Re: How thick is your author skin?

#14
I welcome and value negative feedback as well as positive. Sometimes it's nonsensical and can't be reasonably addressed, but usually there's some value in there. Negative ratings without an explanation are way harder for me to handle since I can't tell if I'm genuinely doing something wrong or if it's just a case of wrong audience.

I've never had a truly harsh critique though. I like to think that if I were to receive one I could handle it with equanimity, but I guess we can't be sure until it comes to pass. I've yet to subject my stories to an actual editor so I can't truly say whether my skin is thick enough. I hope it is, I strongly suspect it is, but I can't be certain.

Re: How thick is your author skin?

#15
I've only gotten one overwhelmingly terrible review that was soul-crushing despite a few valid points. A lot of it was utterly unwarranted personal attacks and insults, but it was since deleted and out of sight out of mind.


gwunders Wrote: Do you get jealous when you read writing you perceive as better than your own or do you take off your writer hat and engage as a reader?

peoconfused To be honest, I don't know how to answer this. I think I get jealous of writers who casually brag about churning out like 4k in under 3 hours or something. That and people's ability to maintain good upload schedules (also backlogs) but it's more of a kick-in-the-butt reminder that I screwed up starting out. 


But never jealous of other people's writing; quite the opposite I'd say. I might go like 'damn, this writer has an interesting way of describing things, maybe I should take notes from this' but I normally view it as a reader since it's more of a subconscious thing.

Similarly, I might read something that's just plain Wattpad-tier bad and think to myself, 'damn I know my writing is bad, but at least I'm not THIS bad, props to this guy for writing tho'. 

Re: How thick is your author skin?

#16
My guiding light in this has been Tolkien, who once wrote: 'You can never please all people on all points.' To me, the stories I write are my children, in a sense, and no one likes having their children criticized (I see my premium membership to RR as a form of child support).  However, I also understand they need critical feedback in order for them to improve (and me to grow as a writer), so I welcome critical advice whether I think it's justified or not (Just so it's not stupid, like the woman who went on a rant because she loved Anne Rice, and thought my vampire novel Shadow Waits sucked because my vampires were nothing like hers). I also find the more children you have, the less you worry about each one being perfect. 

As far as having thick skin, I used to work retail pharmacy before I sold everything I owned and moved to Mexico (literally - I came here with a backpack and nothing else). Hell hath no fury as a redneck whose Oxycodone just got cut off, trust me...


The White Horde (Revised) | Royal Road

Re: How thick is your author skin?

#18

FlerpDooseMish Wrote:
TheHex Wrote: Though I did hear that some other people got scared off because my first few chapters were too long


Wait, what the heck? First time I've heard anyone complain about chapters being too long. Are they like 10k word essays or something?

Not really. It seems that people expect something around 2k~3k words for web fiction. My prologue has 5.6k words, my first chapter 5k and second chapter 4.6k. For the other chapters i kept within the margin of 2k~3k and it seems readers perceive those as being... Better? I guess...

Re: How thick is your author skin?

#19
I've gotten a lot thicker skin over the years but it's still not as thick as I'd like; I tend to fret over responding to negative comments a lot more than I'd like. I also have yet to receive a single genuinely negative review on any of my full-length novels ever (even Systemless which half of commenters seem to hate). I'm honestly a bit confused about it with how many long stories I've made over such a long period of time, and it makes me worry that I'll be super sensitive to that when it inevitably comes someday.

Re: How thick is your author skin?

#20
Depends on the comment for me. If it's just silly and mean, or overly critical about some event they didn't like, it doesn't really get to me. If it's real, actually thought-out criticism it does tend to hurt more, especially if I agree with the point being made. It never feels great to have flaws in your writing pointed out (Especially when it's stuff that's really hard/I don't know how to fix), even though it's very helpful and I wouldn't give up the feedback. 

I tend to be pretty sturdy about feedback in general though. Can't get bogged down in what other people think. It's impossible to make everyone happy, so you just need to accept that you won't.