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    Comicality
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Claws of the Critics - 1. Chapter 1

So, you've written out your first story, you feel good about it, and you've finally gotten up the courage to put it out there for the rest of the world to see. It's an amazing feeling, isn't it? This is, afterall, your baby! Your brainchild. The true expression of your emotions and your very soul. And all you want is a little feedback from the public to say, "Wow! We really liked what you wrote! Thanks so much! I hope to see more from you!" Sometimes, those email come to your inbox, and make you feel like you're floating on air. And then....other times...dun dun dun! You get the abrasive howl of the critic in your inbox, and it feels more like you're drowning in quicksand. Prepare yourself for it. It's going to happen no matter what. And it's not always as bad as you think it is. It may feel awful sometimes, but in the long run...you have to look at it as an essential part of expressing what's in your heart. Those are the rules, plain and simple.

Just remember, doing ANYTHING creative is going to bring forth some level of criticism or interpretation. Bottom line. I don't care WHAT you do! You can sit at home all alone, and spend ten years writing the most amazing, most emotionally driven, most draining, story of your entire LIFE. You can have it edited by the finest editors in the business, fix EVERY spelling error, research EVERY fact and reference, and correct EVERY continuity mix up that could POSSIBLY exist. You can channel divine spirits and gather the wisdom of ancient alien civilizatons to form an airtight foundation in logic that dazzles the greatest philosophers of your time. You can work yourself into a COMA, losing sleep, losing friends and family, not eating or drinking, in complete solitude on an uncharted deserted island in the middle of the Pacific ocean...JUST trying to find a way to draw the life's BLOOD from your wrists to get the words out on the page for everyone to see your masterpiece! And through all of your tireless efforts, there will *STILL* be someone out there who will find SOME offbeat reason SOMEWHERE in the story to say, "Eh...I didn't like it." Hehehe, you can't avoid it, don't even try. I hate to burn down any images of what you think it'll be like to have folks reading your story, but it's the truth. Trust me, there are NO 'unanimous votes' in this game. They just don't exist. What's important is that you read all of the comments and feedback that you get with every story, and understand what they are all trying to say...without losing your enthusiasm to move forward with another chapter or story. That's the key.

I know that it can make you feel really bad sometimes to hear that someone disliked something that you worked so hard on. Writing is a long and frustrating process sometimes, and without some positive responses, it's hard to put yourself through that kind of punishment. But when you see criticisms or constructive comments about your work, make sure that you read through them, and try to understand what kind of points they're making. While certain rants may seem harsh or inappropiate, if you get to the heart of their comments....you might find some really good points that might help you to work harder towards making your next chapter even better. The hard part is simply not taking the criticisms to heart, and letting them discourage you from writing entirely. I know, I know....easier said than done. But, like I said, the criticisms WILL come...and you want to be ready. Don't think about the comments as 'faults and flaws'. Try to think of it as 'attention'. Someone likes what you wrote enough to want to write to you and let you know what they think. They want the best story that they can get out of you, and if they're sending you a note, you must have touched them on SOME level to illicit a response. Am I right? Take a moment, and even if their suggestions seem petty or unfounded, make sure that you take a second look at your own work and try to see if you can understand why they felt that way. Remember, it's easy to develop this 'unconditional love' for what you've written, and it can make you blind to some of the comments that someone is making to improve what you're trying to do with the story. Take a moment to calm down, and just give your story a once over to see if maybe there were a few corners that you could have touched up in the writing. It will ultimately help you to become a better writer in the long run if you're able to look at your own work objectively.

However, another important thing to remember is that YOU, ultimately, are the author of this story. This is your work, your heart, your memories, and your world. So stick to your instincts i you think what you're doing is right. I would never tell any of you to change your whole story around to meet the needs of a few critics. Don't EVER do that. Because you won't ever be able to please everybody, and chances are, you'll end up losing the majority of people who liked the story just fine when you were writing it 'your' way. Make sure that you're still writing the story that YOU want to write. People are there with you, they're reading, they're listening, and they love what you do. Even if the critics rant and rave and threaten to walk away and throw tantrums...if you want the story to go a certain way, and you believe in it, then you let your art thrive and grow however you want it to. That was the whole reason behind writng it, right? Understand, there are a lot of people out there who will get personally involved with your work, and will want to 'advise' and 'guide' and sometimes 'force' the story to be written the way that THEY would like it to be written. But that's not your job in all this. If they wanted a story written JUST to suit them specifically and have it written with the kind of precision that they're demanding from you, then they should have to go through the emotional frustration and the long hours of mind numbing effort that it takes to write their OWN story. This one is YOURS, and you can make it into whatever you believe or dream it to be. Always keep in mind that this is not a story that you are WRITING for other people. This is a story that you chose to SHARE with other people. Don't let the critics barge in and take control of your means of self expression. Stick to your guns and push forward. The true fans of your story will enjoy what YOU have to say a lot more.

So, when reading a criticism or a flame from someone who didn't like your story, make sure that you dettach yourself enough to see whatever points they're making...but keep your integrity, and let your heart guide you instead of the folks who might not understand the story the way you do. It's a difficult balance sometimes, I know. I've been there many times myself. But it's all a part of developing a natural instinct in doing what you want to do. You examine each comment, take to heart whatever you find useful, brush off everything you find insulting or misunderstood, and KEEP WRITING! Don't ever let a bad comment ruin your enthusiasm for something you enjoy. Most of the time, the critics don't even mean it to sound as badly as you took it. (Of course, sometimes they DO! Hehehe! But that's a whole other situation. Like I said before, it's 'attention' that they're giving you. And you wouldn't have it if your story didn't have some kind of significant impact on them) Most of the time, when I write back an email to explain my reasons for doing what I did or to thank someone for pointing something out to me that I didn't realize before, they usually write back to say, "But I DID enjoy the story a lot!" So don't take it as 'I hated everything', because it's not always like that.

As for the critics out there, please keep in mind that any kind of art or creative expression really demands that an artist 'expose' himself on a very deep level. That makes them extremely vulnerable to what you might say about their work. Saying things like 'that was just stupid' or 'ewwww sick' or 'I hated this part or this character' can cut a pretty deep gash into somebody if phrased wrong. A lot of people take that to heart, this is their spirit. And even with ten emails from people saying that they loved the story...it only takes 'ONE' bad comment to discourage another attempt at putting their work out there again. Writing is NOT easy. Not by a longshot. Writing just ONE story takes a TON of planning and typing and heart and creativity to put together. Not to mention the courage it takes to let people read it when it's done. Don't be fooled by the fact that because it only takes ten minutes to read, that it only took ten minutes to write. That's never the case. These authors have really manifested something special out of their very souls, and have taken a great risk to put it out there to be judged and criticized by people they don't even know. So take it easy on them, huh? You have no IDEA how hard it is to put these feelings down on paper sometimes.

We all definitely need your honest input to help us get better, and we want you to tell us if you don't understand what's being written...but our hearts are on our sleeves here. So be careful, k?

To you authors, expect the claws to come scratching at your back eventually. The 'beast' is always going to be chasing you for as long as you want to do anything imaginative in your life. Hehehe! But don't just hide out from what the critics are trying to tell you. Don't turn a deaf ear to someone who's trying to help you. Many times, it's something you need to reach that next level in your writing. So pay attention, and keep your head. We can all use a little 'back scratching' every now and then. :)

Copyright © 2011 Comicality; All Rights Reserved.
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Heart of the matter really is, respect others and respect yourself, in both sides of the line. Authors can be the best and the worst critics to other authors.Thanks Comsie for this and other recent "author tools" :)

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I really love most all of your stories, when I review a story or chapter I review it from my heart, trying to help the author better themselves if I can, mostly with suggestions for improving the story or hoping that what I review the author will not change their story, I have not yet found any other stories that needed any improvement, all are excellent in their own way.

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There will always someone who find something wrong with anything. Writing, like all other art forms, "beauty is in the eyes of the beholder." It's subjective. People sometimes forget, critiques, if intended to be constructive, should be kept objective.
Comsie also hit the bullseye when he mentioned if you tried to please those few negative criticism, you might just lose the majority of your audience. And I might add, the worst of all offense is in fact, you're going to lose your original vision, the sense of purpose why you wrote that story to begin with. Perhaps that's the hidden danger of such criticism.
To critics, the story is someone's brainchild. You can only give advice, not mandate. I am from the school of thought that once my story is published, it becomes the readers' story. There is no single "correct" way of interpreting a piece of fine literature (especially one that has layers). Refrain from making judgmental "absolute truth" statements. Imposing one's idea onto others is unfair. That said, let the author have his/her artistic freedom. It is his/her story.
On the other hand, if the criticism is regarding some technical issues in the story, gently bring it to author's attention. Remember the rule "praise in public, and criticize in private."
Marzipan already pin the other point I wanted to say. Respect. :) Criticize is good, but don't over criticize.

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hey............was trying to figure out a way to contact you. GFD is a great read.

 

I've written a story similar to Billy Chase (only 2 chapters so far) but would love your feedback on it.

 

set back in time.....the 70s..........but for me a very emotional tale and before i try to publish it, I'd like an author's critique.

 

and since we do write in the same genre.......figured you might be just the guy to do it.

 

Interested? my email is a.burleson@verizon.net. can forward the story from there

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There are a lot of stories that you have written that I would like to read but so many of them have not been finished, that it seems that you have lost interest in them because so many of them have not been updated in several years.

Is there a reason for that? 

its a shame that they have not been finished because your short stories 

are really excellent and the descriptions that you use are amazing, 

several of them are so hot as well. 😘

I know that we all get busy with life. 

You are not the only author to have incomplete stories on the web, so

please don’t take that as a personal criticism. 

Also some authors take ages to upload the next chapter that you forget 

what the story was about. I now only read completed stories and don’t bother

with stories in process unless I know that they will be continued on a weekly basis.

 

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2 hours ago, Bft said:

There are a lot of stories that you have written that I would like to read but so many of them have not been finished, that it seems that you have lost interest in them because so many of them have not been updated in several years.

Is there a reason for that? 

its a shame that they have not been finished because your short stories 

are really excellent and the descriptions that you use are amazing, 

several of them are so hot as well. 😘

I know that we all get busy with life. 

You are not the only author to have incomplete stories on the web, so

please don’t take that as a personal criticism. 

Also some authors take ages to upload the next chapter that you forget 

what the story was about. I now only read completed stories and don’t bother

with stories in process unless I know that they will be continued on a weekly basis.

 

 

Well, what has changed over the past two years or so, is that I've been going back to my older stories and re-editing them, word for word. There are stories that I began years ago, that are full of errors and mistakes and open tags in the code, etc. I feel that I have grown into a much more experienced writer since then. So a lot of the stories that haven't been updated in a long time are going through rewrites, so the new chapters will blend smoothly with the older ones. If you read any of the stories that I turned into ebooks on Amazon, they have all been completely redone. I, literally, went through every single line of dialogue, every paragraph, every scene, every loophole, and did my best to fix it up. So that's why some stories have been without an update for so long. I never stop working on them though. Hehehe, promise! And some of those incomplete stories? You might want to give them a peek. You might like those the best. :)  

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Bft

Posted (edited)

21 hours ago, Comicality said:

 

Well, what has changed over the past two years or so, is that I've been going back to my older stories and re-editing them, word for word. There are stories that I began years ago, that are full of errors and mistakes and open tags in the code, etc. I feel that I have grown into a much more experienced writer since then. So a lot of the stories that haven't been updated in a long time are going through rewrites, so the new chapters will blend smoothly with the older ones. If you read any of the stories that I turned into ebooks on Amazon, they have all been completely redone. I, literally, went through every single line of dialogue, every paragraph, every scene, every loophole, and did my best to fix it up. So that's why some stories have been without an update for so long. I never stop working on them though. Hehehe, promise! And some of those incomplete stories? You might want to give them a peek. You might like those the best. :)  

The thing that I like the most in this site is the fact I can interact with other readers

and authors, and get to read other people’s comments.

Good luck with editing all of your stories. 😀

Edited by Bft
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