Criticism: When and When Not to Take It

A writer can learn a great deal from a reader’s suggestions. “But the reader doesn’t write! They don’t understand the process…” Yes, the reader doesn’t write, but the reader is one who reads. The reader seeks relatable stories, believable characters, interesting sentences. The reader is tasteful, knows a good book from a bad one. The reader has done more than enough reading to earn the respect and attention of the writer. Thus the writer ought to put herself in the reader’s shoes, and listen closely when the reader offers a well-intentioned critique.

On the other hand, a writer ought to slam the door in the face of those who read half-heartedly and who certainly don’t write, those who don’t (or can’t) create anything original (besides the following), but instead try to create “Honest Opinions” out of an absolute lack of understanding for the genre. Like a toddler with awkward hands making a dog out of playdough, all you can do is smile, pretend to be impressed, and reward them with praise for having attempted the impossible task of sculpting something worth anyone’s attention.

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