I’ve just received some amazingly harsh criticism wrt one of my books. The comments started, “Don’t shoot the messenger, I had my critic hat on, and I’m really not a horrid person. promise. I’d like to see this again, once you’ve finished.” You just know something atrocious is coming.
I’ve been reading a post on criticism (of another novel). One reply began, “Well hang on. Is it terribly written, or is it terrible to you?” Good point. Many of the comments made by the reviewer are total opposites of views expressed by other readers.
But the reason for this post is to offer what I consider the best approach to criticism that I’ve read anywhere. The person who offered me their opinion did none of these.
“I’ve been seeing the sandwich method working great. Two pieces of ‘You did this and that well’ with ‘What I think needs work..’ in the middle. Even if it ends up being a Double Whopper.
“I think, it’s also important to differentiate between what might be a matter of taste and opinion, and what is really not working for the story. If the story needs work, then you should be as specific as you can (if you can). Maybe the person needs to read up on some ‘how to write’, or ‘how to plot’, etc.?”
‘Double Whoppers’! I could even put up with a couple of those!
Finally, I would love to read some of the published works written by reviewers. I already read novels corrected by editors to choose who I want to work with. I told one editor I had downloaded such and such a book. Her reply was ‘oh please don’t read that. It was terribly edited. I was so new then.’ Maybe she shouldn’t feature it so prominently on her Facebook page. Maybe this tactic should apply to Beta Readers too!