My name's Brittany (although, I'm sure you can see that, ha ha.) I'm twenty-one and I've been an aspiring writer since I was a small child. I've had issues with "constructive criticism" (rather, people thinking they're helping you, when all they're doing is tearing you an unnecessary new one because they never have, don't, and never will understand good writing when they see it) and I've wanted to punch people in the throat for it. I've learned many a lesson, one being that "we've just gotta keep on keepin' on."
I'm so glad I found this site! Like an annoying neighbor, I plan on "taking advantage of its tools and keeping them, even though others may want to use them." ; )
If anyone would like to know anything further please, feel free to ask me or visit my profile. = )
Welcome to the site! Make yourself at home!
Glad you found us, and I hope you find at least some of the tools you are looking for around here. There are a lot of tools.
Like Avery said, make yourself at home. And judging from your little introduction, a fitting place to start might be:
Thank you for the warm welcome, Avery! = )
Welcome Brittany... You'll find the site to be ultra helpful, and the constructive critcism here is just that, constructive. Very people here won't give a reason why they thought something didn't work or why they didn't like it. The feedback you'll receive is amazing. Jump in, submit something and do some reviews. I look forward to reading your work.
Good to have you! Jump in on our craziness.
Thank you everyone! You all sound awesome!
Hey Brittany :) Welcome to the site! I'm sure you'll enjoy it here, the community is bustling with friendly and intelligent people, and a lot of people who know their stuff when it comes to writing. I'm looking forward to seeing some of your work around the workshop.
I do want to comment on this sentence:
I've had issues with "constructive criticism" (rather, people thinking they're helping you, when all they're doing is tearing you an unnecessary new one because they never have, don't, and never will understand good writing when they see it
This can be a very dangerous attitude to have when participating in a workshop, and just when trying to improve your writing in general. Even the best writers get poor reviews every now and then, and that's for a reason: no writer is infallible. Not a one. Nor is a single writer universally loved by every reader on the planet. There are writers I think are fanfuckingtastic, and yet writers far more skilled than me might have a poor opinion of them. Likewise, there are those who adore certain writers, and I'd rather take a shit on one of their books than read one (*ahem*RichardLaymon*ahem*). You can be a wonderful writer and still have people 'tear you a new one' -- in fact, these people are more likely than not going to not only understand good writing when they see it, but often be more skilled (I'm not talking about you specifically, just generally). These are the people who are often going to see the flaws you don't notice. A 'negative' review on a story you're proud of doesn't necessarily suggest that the critiquer doesn't know what they're talking about, and this assumption can be a dangerous one to make.
Every critique of your work is valuable and shouldn't be dismissed. Every person is a potential reader, therefore their comments are valid. Every reader has their own opinion, and each one counts. Negative comments are almost always more valuable than positive ones -- they show you what your weaknesses are, what audiences you're failing to reach.
To say that a review that 'tears you a new one' is a product of someone who doesn't understand 'good writing' is missing the point -- your critiquers are first and foremost readers. Readers don't have to understand the ins and outs of writing. They just have to enjoy the story. If a reader, any reader, doesn;t enjoy the story, you've failed your writerly duty to that particular person. Which is often fine -- not a single story is universally loved by all, that's why we have terms for 'target audiences' and such. But don't dismiss anyone's comments out of hand for not being smart enough or skilled enough to appreciate your work. Even the comments you disagree with, even the comments that are flat out wrong (and yes, there are often plenty of those) can help you to improve both your story and your writing skills.
Not every critique is going to help your story get better, certainly. But when someone tells you that they didn't think your magnum opus was all that great, don't dismiss them out of hand. Learn what you can and move on. When writers talk about having 'thick skins' they're not talking about letting negative comments roll right off you -- instead the implication is that you should absorb the information, all of it, let the good and the bad sink in, and then expel the nasty feelings, the anxiety and the grief, right back out. Retain the information, spit out the hurt.
Sorry to have gone on about this for so long, but it's so, so valuable to really learn how to take any and all critiques. Unless the person is trolling you, they are all worth your time.
And don't mind me, I soapbox a lot. I need to join a support group.
Again, welcome to the site. Sorry to have cramped your thread ;) Hope to see you around, both the forums and the workshop :)
Thank you for your imput, and the welcome Arkadia! ; ) Your insight is indeed, helpful to me. I would like to point out for clarification though that I was talking about trolling but not online trolling.
For instance, a few years ago, I wrote a poem and sent it in to my town's newsletter and I was so proud of myself for putting my name out there! Well, after my mom read it, she ran around (the next town over) with a copy of it, getting others (with no writing experience, otherwise they would've had something beneficial to offer) to read it and asking their opinion of me; if they think I have mental issues. This was simply because she didn't understand the meaning behind my work and deliberately made me feel horrible about it.
In no way were her actions, or opinions beneficial to me as a writer. This is what I mean when I talk about a person "tearing someone else an new one."
I was offered no actual feedback to absorb and learn from. Had it been real constructive criticism, whether positive or negative, I certainly would've accepted it and moved on.
Don't worry, I feel in no way that you carried your point out too long; I greatly appreciated it. = ) It's very nice to meet you!