Wednesday, May 03, 2006

New Policy

Okay, so I've got a new policy here. No more anonymous posts. If you've got something to say, sign your name to it.

Allow me to explain. Someone apparently didn't appreciate what I said in my last post about taking criticism. They decided to anonymously post a comment about it using a very poorly constructed analogy. I'm not even going to guess at who made it.

Needless to say, I've changed the setting on the blog. You need to have an account here to leave a comment. I don't know if it's possible to post anonymously in a blog with an account. If it is, anonymous comments will be deleted.

But since someone decided to criticize my criticism, let me criticize your criticism in turn.

Am I saying that someone should be happy when they're criticized and told that someone doesn't like what they've done? Heck no! I'm not saying that at all. Criticism does hurt. What I'm saying is that you have a choice of what to do with that criticism.

Let me give you an example from my own life. A few weeks ago, I sent in a short story called "The Jewel of Creation" to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. When I came home today, I discovered the SASE that I sent with it and I knew that it wasn't good news.

I was right. In a very short note, the assistant editor informed me that he was going to pass on it. The extent of his criticism was "This tale didn't grab my interest, I'm afraid. Good luck to you with this one, and thank you again for sending it our way."

Did it hurt to get rejected? Yes, it did. So what do I do with this rejection? How do I respond to this gentleman who didn't like my work?

Well, I could write the editor a note informing him that he doesn't get it and argue that my story is better than he thinks, that the people who have read it so far have enjoyed it, and that it deserves another shot. Somehow, though, I don't think that will get me published.

Or I can do what I actually did. I laughed it off since I still believe in my story and I sent it off to a new magazine. It goes in the mail tomorrow. If that magazine rejects it, I'll see what they have to say. If I'm lucky, I'll maybe get some in-depth comments that I can consider, either implementing the suggested changes to make the story better or ignoring them if I disagree. And then I can send it off again and hope for the best.

Taking the criticism personally doesn't help. That's all I'm saying.


fwb3mlyy07io said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
B. I. Flight said...

Hello again.

I hope you don’t mind me once again turning up and replying to one of your posts. I ran across your rebuttal to my rebuttal, and wanted as before to address some of your points.

For the record, I originally found your site through my own site’s records. Someone followed the link you provided to my main page, and this showed up in my records, leading me back to your blog out of curiosity.

I see that you at least managed to finish the book. I’d have to agree that’s a better time to write a review, myself. You clearly still have a negative view of it, as it merely “annoyed you less” once you were done with it. You do seem to contradict yourself a little though, as you weren’t nearly as annoyed, yet you seem to state that your dislike of the book increases with every exposure. Did you come to tolerate the book more, or hate it more?

Why exactly are you “worried” about me? As I said, I found your critique via link and wanted to reply. I did this primarily, if you’ll forgive me saying so, because I felt the reasons you gave for not liking the book were not legitimate reasons for not liking something.

You mention here that my writing style annoys you: that’s *fine*. *That’s* a good reason. But saying “Flight has a great vocabulary, but I disagree with his usage of the words “interesting” and “irony”, so in my opinion, he’s a terrible writer” is not. Nor is “I dislike the book largely because one character, who is openly eccentric and hinted at as being mentally ill, does things that are openly eccentric and hint at his being mentally ill, and I found that paradoxically incongruous.” If you dislike an entire story because of the misuse of a word or two, you must hate the original Star Wars for using “parsec” as a measure of time instead of distance; if you dislike a story because one character acts as they are established as doing, then you must dislike Star Trek: The Next Generation for having Commander Data attempting to be more “human.”

I wasn’t bothered by your criticism: I *like* criticism. It has helped me to grow a great deal as a writer, which is really just a hobby for me in the end. One of my closest friends even describes me as being my own harshest critic. What bothered me, as I said, was your reasoning for it. If you had said, “I find the story implausible, the characters shallow and uninteresting, and the writing style grating,” I doubt I would have said anything; that at least I could have understood as an opinion.

As to answering the criticism, as you said, I have the two choices. I chose to respond. I’ve gotten plenty of constructive criticism for the work, but again, to date you are the only reader I know of to actually not enjoy it. I admit being called a “terrible writer,” kind of stung, but that wasn’t the sole motive.

You’re right, it doesn’t matter what one blogger thinks of the book, but this experience gave me some interesting feedback. There’s always going to be the matter of opinion, of course, and I fully understand that (even I have things I don’t like about the story).

At any rate, as you say, the matter is closed. I hope you don’t mind me putting this here: I will not be the least bit offended if you choose to delete it. If you want to say anything else (including requesting that I not return) you can place it here or on my own site (emailing me or posting on my forum). I’m sorry you only were less annoyed by the book, and I hope that whoever finds it gives it a good home.

One last thought: I’m not writing a sequel. The Lonely Winds is and always has been concepted as an ongoing serial: it’s not so much a novel series as novella episodes told in small collections. Here’s hoping your words help me make future installments more entertaining.

B. I. Flight