Hater Love

Published July 21, 2014 by swankivy

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issue38

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This may be exaggerated, but it’s true for me: I’m much more likely to agree with my critics (and adjust my writing in response!). Five people could praise a favorite line and then if one person thought it was silly, I’d probably start leaning toward believing it was silly. Some of this is good, adaptive behavior: you WANT readers who will tell you what’s wrong with your story and push you to make it better. But some of it is just Insecure Writer Syndrome™. For some of us, if one reader criticizes something we wrote, we suddenly can’t see the scene the same way and it will bug us until we fix it.

There’s such a thing as too much of this, but most of us have a healthy level of ability to take criticism seriously. We won’t throw our manuscripts in the fireplace and quit writing forever if someone dislikes our work, but we’ll obsess over criticism and it will seem magnified in our minds. This is generally a good thing unless it paralyzes our ability to draft without too much fear. However, much worse than this is its opposite: the authors who savor only the praise and automatically ignore criticism. These are the authors who are more likely to defend their work in the face of criticism instead of taking a good look at what they can improve, and these are the authors who think they have nothing to learn.

So they don’t.

One comment on “Hater Love

  • Your target audience will forgive you, unless you break one of the cardinal rules:

    1. Finish the trilogy.
    2. I mean it, buster!
    3. If it goes on for more than three books, let us know when it’s over. Make sure it’s before you die or lose interest, unless target audience, and therefore publisher, loses interest first. Then you should have stopped at three.
    4. There is no rule 4.

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